Sunday, July 22, 2007
Slavin' over.... PB Cookies!
Women tend to fall into one of two camps - either they love spending time at the grocery store, or they amble up and down every aisle 'in search of inspiration' as my mother-in-law would say, finding it a necessary evil. I'd say I'm in the first camp most of the time. I'm intrigued by the olive bar, since up until about three years ago I thought there were only two kinds - black pitted and green with pimentos stuck in the ends. The organic section is full of strange and wonderful things, and the ethnic section is great when I have no idea what to make for dinner. They stack all the ingredients for a meal right next to each other, making it easy to whip up a dinner worthy of placemats and fabric napkins. Add to that a fantastic deli, and a prepared food section, and what's not to love?

Still, the cereal aisle? It makes me crazy. Why on God's green earth do we need 99 different kinds of cereal, when they basically fall into only a few categories: semi-healthy, healthy with more fiber than the body knows what to do with, and junk that kids love. I think we need only a very few - cheerios, since they're a major food group for most toddlers, bran flakes, and Count Chocula or something much like it for when adolescent grandkids come to visit, so they won't think you're ancient because by then all you eat is the 'healthy with more fiber than the body knows what to do with', and they know why, because by then you talk about it much of the time.

That rule also applies to me and homemade cookies. Christmas time rolls around and all of a sudden we think we need to bake 25 different cookies, when most of us are pretty happy with a very short list: sugar cookies with frosting in fun shapes, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter. Even when a tray of Christmas cookies is set out, most men will still pick one of the four previously listed if they are offered. Sort of like when you buy a pure-bred dog, you know what you're getting. Some of those other cookies, you take one bite only to find out it has mincemeat or something else funky in it, and what do you do with the second half?

So I bake the four basic cookies. Because we really like them, year round. We have a few extras the girls in our family enjoy at Christmas (wreaths and sandies). The trick is to make really, really good cookies in the basic four. So I give you my peanut butter cookie recipe. It's actually not mine, it's my mother-in-law's and she's not the original owner. It dates back to the early 1900's, out of some ancient cookbook. Years ago, when our kids were little, we'd phone to let her know we were all about to descend upon her like locusts at harvest. She'd bake up a batch of these, and I'd know the metal tin under the counter would be waiting when we got there. Each layer separated with wax paper. And cold milk in the fridge.

Today. Bake these today, and take the whole batch outside, with your kids and a pitcher of milk. Maybe draw a hopscotch, or take some jacks, or marbles, or a book. Summer's more than half over, so we have to squeeze as much as we can out of every single day that's left. Feel free to store them in a worn metal tin, on a lower shelf where little people can get to them by themselves.

Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp water

Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars together in mixing bowl. Add the egg, water and vanilla and beat well. Sift the flour and soda and add to creamed mixture. Shape into balls; place on greased baking sheet and flatten with a fork, pressed down twice (criss-crossed) so cookie is marked in squares. Bake at 350 degreees for about 8-9 minutes. Makes 3 dozen cookies. I double the recipe, bake ½ and shape the remaining ½ into a log, wrap it in saran wrap and freeze it til needed.

Then, tomorrow morning, you might want to have a bowl of semi-healthy flakes to make up for these. Health food they're not, and that's the whole point...


  posted at 10:48 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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