Paste and Sand: The Peanut Butter Cookie Disaster

Let’s start with the ending. The ending looks like this:


This is Nancy Silverton’s “Not Nutter Butter.” It is supposed to resemble a Nutter Butter but taste better. As you can see, it looks nothing like a Nutter Butter. And as for taste, I think Liz said it best when she said: “I think I’m going to throw up.” Lisa refused to eat one. And Kevan, who came over to try a cookie, took a bite and put it down and politely asked for water.

I contend that eating this cookie without a glass of water nearby would kill you. The title of this post is “paste and sand” and that’s being nice. Just looking at these cookies on my counter makes me choke. How did something that looked so delicious on the page come out so terrible?

I mean look—it begins with the toasting of rolled oats with a stick of butter and a vanilla bean:


How does a recipe that starts with such promise turn out so bad?

The answer may lie in the remaining ingredients, or lack thereof. It’s more butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and flour. Notice anything missing? Anything like eggs or melted butter or any form of liquid? That’s because there is none. And then you add the toasted oats. And the mixture is a huge mass of crumbles. Nancy says it’s supposed to work itself into a ball, but it never did. We made little crumbly balls and put them on the cookie sheet and baked them and they came out like this:


And they were so dry, but the dryness was tasty, but still very dry.

Then Lisa and Liz made the peanut butter filling. It consisted of peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt. They spread them on the cookies and made little Not Nutter Butter sandwiches:


They look happy and excited but those expressions mask their inner Aristotelian feelings of pity and fear. Putting peanut butter icing on a dry cookie is like picking a scab or, to quote Billy Crystal in the Princess Bride: “Giving yourself a paper cut and pouring lemon juice on it.”

These cookies were awful. Don’t make them.

[PS: Why do I keep making Nancy Silverton recipes if they keep coming out so badly? I must stop. Those books must be retired. She’s dead to me now… do you hear me? Dead!]

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