Chocolate Chip Cookies Go Nutty

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 08, 2006
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Leapin’ lizards! It’s almost time for the Army Community Theatre to present Annie, the mega-musical hit. The production, slated for Nov. 16 to Dec. 2 at Richardson Theatre at Fort Shafter, stars a spunky Channing Weir in the title role.

This 12-year-old has been in Hawaii for only two years and has already made quite a name for herself, having been in The Secret Garden at ACT as well. Home-schooled by mom Yvonne, she is the daughter of Lt. Col. Russell Weir, who works at Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) at Camp Smith.

Channing started her onstage career in 2003 in at the Cape Fear Regional Theater in Fayetteville, N.C., where she and brother Ian were in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Upon moving to Hawaii, they got involved in Children’s Theater of Oahu. Ian, now 14, has the theatre bug as well, having just been in Sweeney Todd and now joining sister Channing in Annie.


Typical youngsters, some of there favorite foods are pizza, manicotti and bean burritos.

Since they are leaving after Russ retires next year and heading back to the Mainland, we dedicate this recipe to Channing and the entire Weir family, with “break a leg” sent to the two Annie cast members.

These cookies are popular with kids of all ages, and taste great with an ice-cold glass of skim milk!

Both unopened and opened jars of peanut butter may be stored at room temperature. Keep the jar closed tightly and store in a cool place. Storage temperature affects product quality. Excessive heat will accelerate the loss of fresh flavor and cause oil separation. Cold temperatures, even above freezing, can change peanut butter’s consistency, texture and thickness. Peanut butter may be refrigerated to retain the product’s optimum flavor, but it will be hard to spread. Freezing is not recommended.

The “Best When Purchased By Date” stamped on peanut butter jars is the date that assures the best product quality and allows for a reasonable period of storage and usage (two to three months at room temperature ) after that date. Although food spoilage bacteria don’t grow in peanut butter, it will gradually become stale over time and lose its freshly roasted taste when exposed to air. The best guide to freshness is to simply smell and taste it.

The average American household consumes about six pounds of peanut butter a year, totaling about 570 million pounds.

Peanut butter contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and also contains protein, fiber, vitamin E, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium and potassium.


CHIPPY PEANUT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

* 1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
* 3 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
* 2/3 cup sliced ripe banana
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup creamy reduced-fat peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift flour with baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips until well-coated. In blender container, puree banana with sugars, and add vanilla extract. Stir in peanut butter until well-combined and stir vigorously until fluffy. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture until well-combined. Chill dough in refrigerator for about 45 minutes. Using teaspoon-size portions, form into balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 32 cookies. Approximate Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

Calories: 90 Fat: 2.7 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 70 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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