We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cookie Recipe #2-Peanut Butter-January 4, 2010

Today's recipe is for Peanut Butter Cookies: 1 cup butter-flavored shortening, 1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, whole or crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large mixing bowl cream the shortening and peanut butter, about 20 seconds. Add in the 2 sugars and mix well; add vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Using a sifter, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until completely incorporated into the creamed mixture.

Using floured hands, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8 inch thickness with a floured fork in a crisscross pattern. I like to use a slotted deep fryer dipper for a different pattern. Experiment with other gadgets in your kitchen (cookie cutters, etc.) until you find a design you like. At this point, you may place 2-3 whole peanuts to the center of each cookie or a small amount of crushed peanuts.

Place in oven, one sheet at a time, and bake about 9-10 minutes. The outside edges should be lightly browned and the center slightly underdone. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a minute or two. Transfer cookies to cooling racks, then enjoy with others.

This recipe makes about 6 dozen 2 1/2" cookies. It may be cut in half with good results.

I enjoy these cookies because there was a time as a child that I broke out with giant hives all over my body. The doctor said I had an allergic reaction to something. Somehow we came up with peanut butter being the culprit, so for years I didn't eat it in any form. After several years, I tried a cookie because it just looked so good. Nothing happened, so if I was allergic to it, I apparently grew out of it and now I have trouble stopping at just one...

Cookies Rule!!!

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