Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies and a Glass of Milk

I'm slowly developing an addiction to cookbooks, which I think pretty much everyone in my family has realized. Lucky for me, they hit the spot every time they pick out a new book.

For Christmas, I got the reprint of Betty Crocker's original Cooky Book from 1963, retro images and all. Paging through it makes me feel like I'm in the sixties, trying to find a cooky (not a cookie, no no) to go along with a Jell-O ring or some other weird sixties specialty. You can find the cookbook here, and it's full of fun and easy cookie recipes. While you're on the Wiley website looking at the book, buy Water in Buildings by William B. Rose!

For my first recipe from the book, I decided to try my hand at a classic that I hadn't had in years--the peanut butter cookie. Ahhh, the peanut butter cookie. The American classic, made to be scarfed down with a cold glass of milk. The thing is, I don't really like milk unless it's chocolate milk. I take that back--I like a cold glass of milk (the cliché that never dies), but only if it's American, bad-for-you milk. Oh I know, I should be happy I have delicious hormone-free French milk to indulge in. Which I do, with a good dose of Van Houten chocolate powder and sugar. But the cold glass of milk is never going to happen in France. I'll admit it: I do not like the taste of real milk.

Now that I've gotten that taboo out of the way, I will add that a true PB cookie has not only a glass of milk by its side, but the signature crosshatch pattern everyone had fun doing when they were children. Alright, I might have spent more time eating the cookies than crosshatching them when I was little, but I'm just adding to the story here.

All this to say that the Peanut Butter Cooky--or Cookie, as you wish--is quite probably the madeleine de Proust of many Americans. It may remind you of coming home from school to a warm batch of cookies, grabbing one and feeling it melt in your mouth, or licking the spoon from the peanut butter jar.

Yes, I added chocolate to the milk after the picture.

To put it in the words of Betty Crocker:

"Think many happy family memories are bound up with the tradition of the cooky jar? (...) the traveling businessman discovering a packet of favorite cookies tucked in his luggage..."

Does anyone else just felt like they were just thrown into a pistachio green Formica kitchen with ladies in pastel colors? Oh, Betty Crocker...

The cookies were, pretty unsurprisingly considering the lengthy success of this book, really good. I baked them a little less longer than the recipe indicated for my second batch, and they were perfect. With or without milk.

Peanut Butter Cookies
"a favorite with men and children"
makes about 36 cookies

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 TS baking powder
3/4 TS soda
1/4 TS salt

- Mix shortening (butter), peanut butter, sugars, and egg thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or sifting. Blend all dry ingredients; stir into shortening (butter) mixture. Chill dough.

- Heat oven to 375°F. Roll dough in 1 1/4" balls. Place 3" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten crisscross style with fork dipped in flour.

- Bake 10 to 12 minutes (might be because of the butter, but I'd recommend 8 to 9 minutes for them to be chewy).
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Lily said...

I've just made a batch ! They are so yummy !!!! Thanks !!!!