Last week my assistant and I struck out to make a large batch of peanut butter cookie dough for our freezers. What turned out was a massive hunt for what we considered the ultimate peanut butter cookie. After about 3 batches of average and below average cookies I hit ‘pay dirt’ as I call it! The outcome is a cookie I am really proud to say is my recipe. The overall response with many different palates has been outstanding.
Butter or shortening? What I have learned is that peanut butter cookies made with butter and peanut butter just don’t work so great. The shortening works with the peanut butter to yield a much more pleasing cookie. The butter cookies were heavy and seemed to have trouble lifting during the baking process.
My routine is to fill my deep freeze with cookie dough so I am ready for just about anything! It never fails that I don’t have a dessert to take somewhere or my son, Phillip, asks me to send cookies for an event! I do have a special way of freezing the dough and it’s the method I use for many freezer items. Place the dough in a gallon freezer bag, releasing as much air as possible. Gently pat the dough into the bag so it is the same thickness throughout. Now freeze the dough. What happens is all the dough thaws at the same speed. This way you don’t have center sections that are still frozen while the outer edge is thawed. My assistant likes to freeze hers already made into balls so she can pull out a few cookies at a time. Either way is a real cinch for any homemaker. When you bake several dozen at once it feels like there’s an obligation to eat each and every one!
Usually I try for chocolate chip, peanut butter and snickerdoodles in the freezer. I don’t know very many people who turn down good homemade cookies. The biggest tip I can give everyone for baking good cookies is to watch the baking times. Many and I mean ‘many’ people overbake, drying out their baked goods.
Like a good steak the cookie will continue baking while it’s sitting on the sheet and cooling down. The longer we leave them in the oven the crispier they will be. If I’m working on a new recipe; like I was over the past two weeks, I bake only 2-3 cookies at a time. This is also under close monitoring. Since every oven and state is different; times can change.
When people ask me what I start kids cooking first it certainly isn’t a cookie. Cookies require patience and I don’t consider cookies a good first subject.
I usually start students on eggs and pancakes. These two items require the ‘flipping’ action which we long time cooks take for granted.
Summer brings more time at home and the perfect opportunity to work with our kids and grandkids in the kitchen. Personally I am determined to have Phillip making gravy by the close of the summer. I’m sure many of you are like myself, we want our kids/grandkids to have the self-sustaining skills that we were fortunate to learn. Make it fun, never over-whelming and start your own summer cookbook for the kids.
I’m hoping for lots of sunshine this coming week as the rain has about taken all the wind from my sail! You don’t know how much the rays do until you don’t have them for quite some time. Embrace the day, next week something fun for 4th of July is surely in order. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Peanut Butter Crinkles
1 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, optional
Additional sugar for rolling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or mixer blend the shortening and butter until smooth. Add the white sugar and dark brown sugar blending well. Next add the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the baking soda, salt and flour until dough is well mixed. Form dough into 2 tablespoon scoops, roll cookie balls in sugar and place on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes approximately. (Remember to monitor as every oven is different.) The cookies will crinkle like ginger cookies or snickerdoodles. Remove in enough time so the cookie stays soft not crisp. I tend to make mine about 2 tablespoons in size. At these proportions the recipe will yield approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.