Last weekend being Halloween I knew I would be eating a ridiculous amount of chocolate, and a ridiculous amount of chocolate I did eat. It wasn't my proudest moment, but it was quite enjoyable at the time :). This year since my mother was giving out full sized chocolates we bought separate Halloween chocolates for us to eat. We still managed to buy too much :) (this was probably my fault). I had gone into the weekend thinking I was going to use some of this chocolate in my baking but figured M&M's Peanut Banana Bread probably wasn't the best idea. So I went with cookies.
The problem with this idea is that I hate add-ins in cookies because of the uneven distribution, and after coming to the conclusion that I'm too lazy to individually place M&M's Peanuts on each cookie I went with something else. I stumbled onto these Cheerio based cookies on Cookie Madness, which sounded too interesting to pass up. Since I'm the only one who likes plain Cheerios (i.e. The good ones), the recipe would also allow me to use some of that up (in this case President's Choice Toasted Oat Os – which I kinda like more, they seem crunchier).
As usual I halved the recipe and reduced the sugar. I also went with just egg whites in an attempt to make it extra crispy. And because my taste buds craved a little PB, I replaced a majority of the butter with peanut butter (it says butter right there :)). I've done this before with varying success but in for a penny, in for a pound I say :).
The cookies were super light and definitely both crispy and crunchy. The top part of the cookie (the “binding” I would call it) was a bit soft, but then you'd hit a Cheerio with a crunch that can only be described as EPIC. Apparently when baked, Cheerios have the crunch of ten Cheerios, plus two. This texture variance from soft to crisp to crunch was unlike a lot of cookies, and very enjoyable. The sweetness of the cookie and peanut butter was noticeable but subtle, not overpowering. As a result these cookies would be great to put out with coffee or tea, they were quite tea biscuit like in my opinion, (uhm, a real tea biscuit [British], a cookie for tea, not a “tea biscuit” [American]), but not super dry. Next time I might try bringing the sugar down just a little more and increasing the peanut butter, making them more of a peanut butter cookie. And if you're like me and enjoy saltier baked goods, you could try increasing that as well.
This was actually my first attempt using cereal in anything other than Rice Krispies Treats. However, if these cookies are typical of the results when using cereal I may have to change my format for a few weeks and create a number of The Baker's Nuts cereals (is there anything better than a bad pun :)?).
Crispy Crunchy Cheerio Cookies w/Peanut Butter
Adapted from Cookie MadnessYields approx 3 ½ dozen cookies w/ a small cookie scoop
2 cups Cheerios (or cheerio-esque cereal) (60g)
¾ cup all-purpose flour (98g)
½ cup old fashioned oats (45g)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2/3 cup granulated sugar (134g)
¼ cup smooth peanut butter, not natural (60g)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cold (28g)
2 large egg whites (63g)
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375F, and grease cookie sheets.
Add peanut butter and butter to the bowl of a mixer and beat until creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Reduce mixer speed and add water, vanilla, salt, and baking soda (I always mess this up with cookies since I tend to mix my dry ingredients first without realizing. It didn't seem to be an issue). Add egg whites and beat until just combined.
Remove bowl from mixer and, by hand, mix in the flour, followed by the cheerios and then the oats.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheets (I used a small cookie scoop) roughly 2 inches apart.
Place in oven on centre rack and bake until cookie edges and cheerios are a golden brown, roughly 10 – 12 minutes (mine took 11).
Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before moving to rack to cool completely.