Free Easy Home Cooking Recipes

Amy's Secret of the Day:

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies make over-the-top ice cream sandwiches with vanilla ice cream in the middle

"That girl can cook!"

Having fun in the kitchen one recipe at a time

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (6 ingredients & gluten free!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

July 4th is just a little more special in my little town of Summit, New Jersey. That’s because Summit is all-American all the time. Our neighborhood, with 30-plus kids, means instant play dates, pick up ball games, sleepovers and potlucks without ever leaving the street. But, on July 4th, Summit hosts a fireworks display that rivals anything in a larger city. Families all over town host open houses and cookouts and not much has changed in the last fifty or so years. So, if you’re bringing potluck to someone’s house this July 4th, here’s an all-American recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They couldn’t be easier to whip up and they just happen to be gluten free too!

About peanut butter: So many choices when buying peanut butter and so many great brands. So, take a moment and read the label because the peanut butter you should buy has just one ingredient: peanuts (and maybe salt).  There are lots of artisanal brands out there but you can make your own too by giving peanuts a thorough whirl in the food processor.

Dark brown vs. light brown sugar: Dark brown and light brown sugar are simply granulated “white” sugar combined with molasses (which is a by-product of sugar). The molasses gives the sugar an earthy almost caramel-like flavor as well as a moister texture. Dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown, so the flavor is more pronounced. Dark brown sugar is a terrific balance with peanut butter.

Goes with… Jersey shore crab canapés, all day ribs, sesame noodles

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Makes approximately 2 dozen

1 ½ cups natural peanut butter (ingredient: peanuts)

1 ½ cups dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 bag milk chocolate chips (or chips of your choice)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat peanut butter and brown sugar until smooth and combined.  Beat in eggs followed by vanilla and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips

Using a medium-size cookie scoop (1½ tablespoons), place dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly and leave about 3-inches between cookies.  Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are puffed and brown.  Cool and transfer onto wire racks.



Jersey Shore Crabmeat Canapes

New Jersey is so much more than diners, Bruce Springsteen and The Sopranos. The real secret is the beaches – all 130 miles – stretching the entire length of the state. You could walk (or run) for miles on sugar white sandy beaches with waves big enough for surfing all year long (just ask my brothers). So, what’s better than an après beach day of cocktails and canapés? A simple mixture of local crabmeat with horseradish and grainy mustard is elegant on garlic butter toast or as a casual dip with crackers. New Jersey at its finest.

Fresh Apricot Tarte Tatin

Like the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” That would be when summer fruit hits the supermarkets and just about every other place that sells produce. All this vibrant seasonal fruit is just right for a summer tarte tatin. It’s an upside-down tart where the fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar. Typically it involves apples, but you can save those for the cold weather. Apricots are at their peak right now and they fill in quit nicely for the most beautiful summer dessert you’ve ever seen (and tasted).

Farmstand Panzanella Salad with Burrata

Panzanella salad and farmstands are a natural fit. The salad, a Tuscan classic is a simple compilation of seasonal vegetables and stale bread, which soaks up the veggie juices along with good quality olive oil and vinegar. SHC prefers using toasted fresh bread since the bread is such a prominent ingredient. It just doesn’t seem logical to eat it in a fresh salad after its prime (save your stale bread for breadcrumbs). The addition of burrata, a richer version of mozzarella thanks to the addition of fresh cream makes it a showstopper

All Day Ribs (three ingredients, three easy steps)

Recently I was driving when I heard a recipe on the radio. It went something like, “These are the best ribs ever, it’s an old family recipe and the ribs are cooked in sauerkraut for 4 hours”. I was doubtful but intrigued. So, I made the recipe and I made it again and again until I got it just right. The ribs don’t need 4 hours for the meat to fall off the bone, but all that cooking time allows the sauerkraut to caramelize and intensify in flavor.

Vanilla Bean Strawberry Shortcake

It’s been a perfect storm in the Secrets of a Home Cook kitchen. First, baker extraordinaire, Dorie Greenspan’s been talking up her strawberry shortcake recipes and with strawberry season in full swing, it’s all I want to eat right now. Second, my mom (mom extraordinaire) brought me gorgeous vanilla beans from her recent trip to India. The result is my own version of vanilla bean strawberry shortcake. It really is a very easy recipe with vanilla beans throughout.

Linguine with Spicy Clams and Chorizo

Memorial Day and the launch to summer are only a week away, and what’s a better kickoff than a big bowl of linguine and fresh clams? Add sausage to the mix and you might find with just one more ingredient you’ll have a completely different dish and a quite popular one. Any smoked or cured sausage will do such as kielbasa, Andouille or chorizo because they’re cooked and ready to go right out of the package.

Scallion Pesto Crusted Chicken

If you happen to be reading this and you’re a mom, then this recipe’s for you. In fact, it’s so easy anyone can make it. Hint: anyone except mom on Mother’s Day. Pesto, on more than a few occasions has literally saved dinner in this kitchen mainly because it’s made in a food processor in all of 30 seconds flat. Slather it on chicken and bake for dinner in no time. Hear that kids?

Farmstand Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto

Secrets of a Home Cook may be jumping the gun on local farmstands here in the northeast, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get recipe ready for summer! Supermarkets are brimming with the first signs of local produce even if local is California asparagus and Georgia onions. The point is, as the weather warms up it gets easier to find all kinds of vibrant produce. So, toss a bunch of veggies into freshly made risotto with a bit of crispy prosciutto for a pop of flavor and you’ll be all set for warm weather cooking.

All-American Crab Cakes with Smoky Romesco Sauce

It’s an unlikely pair but a natural one: All-American classic crab cakes paired with a traditional Spanish sauce of roasted red peppers, garlic, almonds and spices. SHC breaks with tradition by adding smoked paprika – to enhance the charred smoky flavors of the veggies. All in all it’s a winner with freshly made crab cakes as well as on a sandwich or a mix-in with scrambled eggs or with chips as a dip. Easy to whip up and versatile, you might even add it to your summer recipe rotation.

Salted Toffee Matzo Crunch

If you think matzo is nothing but a flat cracker that pops up this time of year during Passover, think again. Matzo is so much more. You’d be hard pressed to find a tastier cracker to slather butter all over and the best part is the 6-inch crispy square means you only need to eat one to be extremely satisfied. But, it’s also the key ingredient in salted toffee matzo crunch and once you try it, you’ll wish matzo were sold year ‘round. So seize the day and make a batch now becasue once matzo's gone, it's gone.


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