Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know about Lotus Porter’s peanut butter cookies. The recipe appeared here in November 2022, and as I noted then, they’re one of my favorites despite the fact they’re made mostly with ultra-processed ingredients. Since the late winter holiday season seems to require an endless supply of sugary goodness, I decided to make a batch last month. But I wanted to upgrade the original chocolate frosting: a simple, piped-on cocoa powder version that was prone to fall off the peanut-buttery blobs of the original recipe.
You may remember that these cookies came from my mom’s self-published cookbook, and for the improved frosting I leaned on another of Nan’s favorites, ganache (for many years she made hundreds of chocolate truffles every Christmas, all hand-dipped in ganache). Despite the sophisticated-sounding French name, it’s just a mix of heavy cream and chocolate melted together.
Lazy cook that I am, I skipped the part of the recipe that has you forming the peanut butter mix into balls and instead pressed it into a sheet pan to make bar cookies. Along with being easier, this also allows you to cut the bars into small pieces, so you can eat several and maintain the illusion that you just had a tiny bite.
Nan died in July after a well-lived 98 years feeding cookies to her children, friends, coworkers and anyone else with a sweet tooth. I think she’d approve of these.
Even Better Lotus Porter Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo brand dark corn syrup*
2 cups creamy peanut butter**
4 cups corn flakes (maybe not as important, but just get Kellogg’s to be safe)
*Karo corn syrup isn’t the high-fructose corn syrup used in lots of industrial food, but is basic sugar, e.g. sucrose, that’s spit into glucose and fructose using an acid; the dark stuff includes molasses for more flavor.
**Use a hydrogenated, sweetened peanut butter such as Skippy or Jif, please, and a 24-ounce jar is close enough to 2 cups.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1 11.5-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a vigorously bubbling boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl, mix in the peanut butter and add corn flakes.
Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to overlap a quarter sheet pan (or similar 9-by-13-inch pan). This isn’t absolutely necessary, but makes removing the cookies for cutting much easier.
Press the mix into the pan in an even layer (if you’re using a larger pan, aim for a thickness of about 3/4 inch).
Make the ganache by microwaving the cream and chocolate together in 30-second intervals, stirring between each heating until it’s smooth and completely blended. You can do this on the stove in a saucepan, but keep the heat low and stir constantly to prevent burning. Spread the ganache in an even layer over the peanut butter mix and cool until the ganache has hardened, about an hour or so.
Carefully remove the whole cookie slab from the pan and slide onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 1/2-inch square pieces. If you don’t use parchment, cut a few rows of cookies from one edge, then slide a spatula under the slab to remove it from the pan.