Saturday, August 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

It's been kind of a rough couple of weeks, I'll admit. So I found myself in need of a little comfort.

When I was a kid, my dad used to make peanut butter cookies, and let me "help". I got to do the mashing bit with the fork. The smell of peanut butter always reminds me of baking these back in the day. Well, that, and Dad smearing it in my hair to remove chewing gum. Yeah, I've always been kind of a mess.

No, I can't sing.

I wanted these cookies badly enough to get in the car and go get peanut butter when I realized we only had about a tablespoon in the house. That's all we needed, though. These guys are pretty low-ingredient, and easy to make. The end result is a salty, crunchy, crumbly cookie. You can make them crisper by cooking them a little longer. If you want them on the softer side, take them out before they get darker brown.

Let me interject here that I LOVE this mixer paddle for baking cookies and cakes.

I ordered it from Amazon and it works VERY well. I highly recommend one if you do a lot of baking. Saves having to do that annoying stop and scrape business.

Cream 2 sticks of softened butter, 1 cup of peanut butter and 2/3 cup each of dark brown sugar and white sugar.

Most recipes will tell you not to use that natural peanut butter for these cookies, but it's all I had. The kind we get at Costco isn't as grainy as some of the other brands, like Smuckers. I didn't find that it compromised the texture, and I'm picky about my peanut butter cookies.

Add 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and mix in.  Then add 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. You're going to want to add it in stages at a low speed. Just trust me on that one. I have done the research for you.

When the dough comes together, it will be a little stiff. Roll it into 1 inch balls and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet a couple of inches apart.

You'll need a glass of water and a fork next.

Dip the fork in the water and mash the cookies down with a cross-hatch pattern. The water keeps the fork from sticking to the dough. You'll need to dip between each cookie, probably.

Bake at 350F for about 12 - 15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them. Cool them on a rack or on the counter.

I was all about some nostalgia with these. We've had that cookie jar since we got married. Pootie pilfered it from his parents (alliteration!). It's been around since he and his sister were babies.

Don't judge. It was the 70s, people.

Normally, I'd say serve these with milk, but we were out. I know. You'd think while I was in the grocery getting peanut butter, I'd have remembered that. I told you I was a mess. But they're almost as good with a little coffee.

If you want to moosh a few yourself, here's the .pdf.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Andie's Big Adventure, Interrupted

We got everything set up and arranged, and set our departure date for Newfoundland for August 27. Our "winter" clothes were sorted and ready to ship. Then, last Wednesday, August 10, our 21st wedding anniversary, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Well, shit.

I'm extraordinarily lucky in that it was caught early, it's non-invasive, and it's completely curable with surgery. But since I have a strong family history of breast cancer - my grandmother (mom's mother)

my Aunt Barbara (mom's sister)

and my own mother -

- and since I'm "only" 44, my surgeon and I decided it was safe to assume that my breasts are trying to kill me. Probably. I'll be having the bilateral mastectomy with the reconstructive surgery, please, waiter. Looks like around the end of August or beginning of September, depending on the schedules of the two surgeons involved.

I'll be perfectly fine, and won't have to ever have another mammogram. (Bonus!)

So this fall, we will be headed to New Hanover Regional Medical Center instead of Newfoundland. Canada will have to wait until next September. Poor Pootie has already got the wheels in motion to defer a year. At least we've already done the legwork, which means less time next year to line up hotels, boats and rental property.

I'll be right here cooking at Cafe 305, with a brief hiatus for surgery and recovery. This will NOT be turning into a cancer blog. No worries. This is the last you'll hear of it here. Tune back in for recipes and revelry.

And the occasional picture of Bigfoot.

Carry on, folks. I'll be back with you soon.