Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

If I've got a little bit of peanut butter in my cupboard, I am truly rich. If I've got enough to make peanut butter cookies, then I'm a step ahead of Elvis Presley, God rest his soul. 
Peanut butter is a product of the New World. Origins are Aztec in nature, though as you might imagine, the Aztecs were not enjoying the sweet treat that we normally spread with jam, top with honey, or sandwich with fluff. If you ask someone if they like peanut butter, they immediately have a gut reaction to their favorite, and will debate with you about whether the creamy of the chunky are preferable, or what is more dessert like versus that which only belongs on a sandwich. Peanut butter inspires childlike memories, and delight, and I'd profess that you can get into a better discussion with someone over the best peanut butter than any political argument that takes place on the floor of Congress. I really feel for the kids that have peanut allergies. It's really not fair, poor buggers.
Tonight, because I feel like some of my coworkers might need a little pick me up, I've baked up some peanut butter cookies. This isn't a grandma recipe... or at least not my grandma's recipe. I've utilized instruction from an entry on epicurious.com, and have taken care to make the dough more moist with a little bit of milk, because other avid cooks have commented that the dough is a bit too dry without it. 
So, start out with a cup and a half of peanut butter (I like Skippy brand, the crunchy version), a stick of soft butter, and a cup of packed brown sugar. Blend those together in a mixer for about three minutes or so. Now proceed to add a single egg, a teaspoon of baking power, 1 3/4 cup of flour, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and then about 1/4 cup of milk to moisten it up a little bit. 
Butter up two baking sheets, and start rolling out teaspoons of the dough into little balls, spacing them evenly among the two sheets. Now, grab a fork, and press down a little bit one way on a peanut butter ball, and then cross the other way to create those signature peanut butter cookie crosshatch marks. 
Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. They'll puff up a little bit, but still remain chewy and moist in the middle. The way I really tell if they're finished is if the bottom of one is a little bit golden brown, and the whole thing holds together. After cooling for a minute, you can remove to a rack, and count to 100. Then they're ready. Milk in hand? You're good to go.
These cookies taste of peanut butter, brown sugar, and have just a tad bit of crumbliness. They're chewy, and they're satisfying. They're way better with a glass of milk right before bedtime. House rules: Paddington gets the first cookies. He approves, just as I suspected he would.

PS - Add about 1/4 cup of milk for a slightly moister dough if the dough looks too crumbly.

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