New Cookies and New Cooking Classes

July 16, 2013

Before I tell you about these cookies, I need to tell you something else.  I know you aren’t supposed to capitalize in posts or emails.  That it means you are yelling.  But I need to yell this.


Excessive exclamation points are gauche too but I don’t care!  (!!!!)  It has been almost a year since we moved to the Bay Area and I have missed teaching so much.  I am not able to do it in my home kitchen because it is too small.  I looked into multiple opportunities to teach elsewhere but nothing felt right.  Recently, a dinner out with a friend turned into a partnership and now my classes, at long last, have a home.  Want to join us?  We’ve got some terrific things coming up – a Warm Weather Soups and Salads class in August, an End of Summer Classics in September, and a Knife Skills class also in September.  Much more information can be found on the Classes page of this site.  I’d love to see some new faces in class!

Onward.  Recently Randy gave me a look.  A deeply disappointed look.  Sorrowful even.  It could only mean one thing.  The cookie jar had been empty for far too long.

It’s true.  I went on a little cookie baking hiatus.  The last cookie recipe I posted here was back in March (Chocolate Truffle Cookies with Crackly Crust – they are terrific).  They aren’t the last cookies I made but truthfully, there haven’t been many since those..  Sorry to the cookie lovers.  I hope these make up for it.

I was remembering Randy’s look as I headed into the grocery store yesterday.  I hadn’t had time to page through my new cookie books to find something to make, so I turned to the trusted Epicurious app and typed in “peanut butter cookies”.  Why peanut butter?  Good question.  I wanted to go a little different direction than usual.  There aren’t many peanut butter recipes on this site – cookies with milk chocolate chunks, peanut butter cup brownies, Holly B’s peanut butter brownies.  Wait.  Is that a lot?  I don’t think in over five years of writing that is a lot of peanut butter recipes but maybe I’m wrong.  In any case, as I said in one or all of those posts, peanut butter cookies are not my first choice.  There must be chocolate.  I found these to be especially charming because they have a bit of honey in them and the chocolate, while delicious, is restrained.  It is first and foremost a peanut butter cookie but the chocolate, semi-sweet this time, helps keep it from being too monotonous.  The texture can only be described as pillowy which feels just right for a peanut butter cookie.

Yes, I baked these for my family, but I doubled the recipe so I can give them out as a treat at the end of my class this week.  Oh, I didn’t mention that I give out Dana Treats at the end of each class?  Another reason you should join us!

Two Years Ago:  Ganache Filled Brown Sugar Bars, Soba Noodle Bowl, Lemony Chickpea and Sun-Dried Tomato Stew
Three Years Ago:  Asparagus and Leek Bread Pudding, Big French Salad, Kosheri, Chocolate Pavé
Four Years Ago:  Grilled Vegetable Salsa, Coconut Bars, Vegetarian Bahn Mi, Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars, Roasted Tomato and Olive Galette with Fontina
Five Years Ago:  Leek Frittata

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks
Makes about 24 cookies

I doubled this recipe (why not?) and made my cookies on the larger side.  I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the batter and patted the scoops down lightly with the palm of my hand.  The batter is extremely soft so do take the time to refrigerate it.  Lastly, I almost never grease or line my cookie sheets – the amount of butter in cookies makes them kind of non-stick, so I skipped that step of the recipe.

1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned chunky peanut butter (about 9 ounces)
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Mix flour, oats, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, honey, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture in 2 additions. Stir in chopped chocolate. Cover and refrigerate until dough is firm and no longer sticky, about 30 minutes.Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 heavy large baking sheets. With hands, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough for each cookie into 1 3/4-inch-diameter ball. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake cookies until puffed, beginning to brown on top and still very soft to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to rack and cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)


  1. These sound awesome! I am so sad that I live so far away from where you are having classes! All the best!

    Comment by Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — July 16, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

  2. great news … you are getting your mojo back !!!!!!!!

    the menus sound delicious and seasonal – how many people do you have in a session and are they always hands on ? might be in the bay area mid september so I would be interested in taking a class.


    Comment by gourmetgoddesspantry — July 16, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Oh Dana, that’s amazing!! Congratulations. I seriously wish I was even remotely close to the Bay Area, because I would sign up in a heartbeat!

    Comment by Jessica L. — July 16, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

  4. I am so excited for you! And so jealous of all the people who get to take your classes. I’d sign up for all of them.
    Now, for the cookies – when you say old fashioned peanut butter, you mean the commercial sweetened kind and not the natural one? Looking forward to trying the recipe.

    Comment by Annika — July 17, 2013 @ 7:51 am

  5. Congrats! Nothing like resuming a dream left behind for reasons beyond your control…

    go for it!

    I have no problem with too many exclamation points.. use and abuse them!

    Comment by sallybr — July 17, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

  6. My mouth has been watering ever since I saws these on Instagram. Will be making these for our Salmon la Sac cabin trip this weekend!

    Comment by Emily — July 17, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  7. I’m SO SO SO excited for you!! I know how much you missed teaching and were worried about not being able to once you moved…but where there’s a will there’s a way! As I said on facebook, my best friend lives in oakland and loves food so I’m going to send her your way!

    These cookies. Damn. I am such a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter!

    Comment by Joanne — July 17, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

  8. I’ve been reading your blog for years and have always wanted to take one of your cooking classes. When you moved to the Bay Area, I thought I’d never have the chance, but as it happens I’m relocating from Seattle to the Bay Area next month for work. Hopefully once we’re settled I can sneak away for a class! Glad you found a new home/kitchen to continue your passion :)

    Comment by Katy — July 18, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  9. I wish I could attend one of your classes! Sounds like so much fun – one day I’ll head to the Bay area again & who knows, maybe I’ll take a class! I can always dream! I love cookies and I can understand Randy giving you the look. These look great!

    Comment by kickpleat — July 18, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

  10. How fun!!!!! I was approached to do the same, but am just too nervous to jump the gun! YEAH YOU!

    Comment by leslie — July 18, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  11. Congratulations on finding the right opportunity for teaching in Oakland! (And nearly selling out so promptly!) I’m in Minneapolis but visit the Bay Area often, so maybe one of these days I’ll be able to sign up. Yay!

    Comment by Edith-Nicole — July 21, 2013 @ 4:41 am

  12. so fun! glad you’re getting back into it. Wish I could make one. I know you make a terrific teacher. xoxo

    Comment by sara — July 22, 2013 @ 4:47 am

  13. Dana – of course I’m thrilled and proud of you friend. I so wish I could make the classes but anyone that does will get a little slice of what a wonderful teacher and person you are. You have so much to offer your community. I’m so glad you get to do this again! I know they will all be sell outs, as they should be. Cheers to adventures. ;)

    Comment by Lindsey — July 24, 2013 @ 4:25 am

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