Taking the good with the bad

So, like I said, I’m working my way off the ‘roids. It’s meant for a sore and slightly cranky week, but, hallelujah, it’s sort of good to feel my body again. Prednisone basically dampens how I feel most symptoms (fatigue, soreness, etc.) – this is usually a good thing, but sometimes it makes me feel inhuman. It’s not so much that I haven’t had a regular cold in three years, I just haven’t felt the symptoms of one – it makes me feel a little alien, and when I woke up this morning with a headache, some sneezes, and watery eyes, I was almost comforted. Guess it’s a matter of taking the good with the bad.

It’s been another busy week here, and in the spirit of not getting done, I bought a tank top that says “busy bee” this morning; it should serve as a constant reminder of my most natural tendencies. (Thank you, sale rack at Lemon Meringue.) I will use this mantra as an excuse to write here, then spend the rest of the day doing nothing productive. Wait, that might actually be productive in itself – confused yet?

It’s also been a hot week in Seattle. The city almost fainted when the thermostat hit 90 mid-week. I’m telling you, this is a city of weather sissies, and I think I’m well on my way to becoming one of them.

Of course, it happened to be the week I’ve tested a bread recipe I’m working on seven times, all at 450 degrees. Sweltering. By Friday, I was thinking of cordoning off the oven with a sign that said “out of order.” I spent most afternoons being thankful I’m no longer cooking in hot kitchens all afternoon, every day, in the summers.

Then I opened a recent Gourmet Magazine, and found a peanut butter cookie recipe that made me switch tacks. Yum. I stared at it for a long time, trying to remember the last time I’d made peanut butter cookies. I must have, at some point, but . . . when?

One summer, formynineteenthbirthdayohmygod, my now-husband flew from Maine to Boise, just showed up in my living room as a surprise. My friend Beth was in on it, and she penned me in at home while my parents picked Tito up at the airport, claiming she needed to copy a peanut butter recipe out of one of my mother’s cookbooks. (Can you imagine copying a recipe out of a cookbook by hand now? How web unsavvy.) There was much talk of making peanut butter cookies that night, but no actual stirring or baking, because Tito showed up, and, well, as they say, the rest is history.

Anyway. That was almost exactly ten years ago.

Recently, I’ve been hoping to send treats to a few friends. They’re taking the last heavy steps toward their dissertation defenses, and peanut butter cookies seemed just the thing. I envisioned making ice cream sandwiches with half the batch; I looked forward to hugging the oversized cookies around caramel Ben & Jerry’s.

But following recipes is not my strengh. I spiked Gourmet’s version with the same whole grains I’d been using in the bread, for cookies with more crunch than usual, really a superb texture for a cookie. And isn’t adding nutrition to a not-so-healthy recipe better than skipping out on the nutrients entirely? Take the good with the bad, I say.

The original recipe‘s headnote warned that it’s a huge batch of cookies but worth making in its entirety, and they were right. I got three dozen cookies each big enough to palm like a discus, and they marched out of the house like a nursery rhyme:

Three we ate hot, before dinner was started
My dog licked the baking sheet – tongue must have smarted
Five cookies for Vicki, for her road trip down south
Then she asked for five more when the first hit her mouth
But before I could leave to fetch her some more
Her dog Scout pawed the plate and all four hit the floor
So I hustled back home, ignoring his crime
And handed ten over, all sealed up this time
Then nine went to WHOI, three went to Mass.
Thank goodness all these treats won’t go to my ass
The half dozen left I stacked up in a tower
Saved for watching the Tourfriends had taped all three hours
But time passed too quickly; we were suddenly late
Now I need a whole new damn batch for stage eight

Everything Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe for Everything Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe 196 of 365

Stuffed with flax seeds, whole wheat flour, and whole raw quinoa, millet, and oats, these cookies pack more of a nutritional punch than most, but don’t shy away from them: they’ve still got all the tasty stuff, too. This recipe is a modified version of the one found in Gourmet Magazine’s July 2007 issue – the original credit goes to Britta, the 9-year-old daughter of the innkeeper at The Willows, a Victorian inn on Lummi Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

The original recipe calls for baking the cookies for 30 minutes, but I found I much preferred a slightly shorter cooking time, for cookies that are softer and more chewy once cooled.

Since it’s best to put the raw cookies on cold baking sheets, it’s easier to make these using four baking sheets. (But don’t worry, the cookies lift off easily, so there’s not much clean-up.)

TIME: 30 minutes active
MAKES: 3 dozen large cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw millet
1/4 cup ground flax meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup raw quinoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup whole oats (not quick oats)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Whisk the flours, millet, flax, wheat germ, quinoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl until blended. Cream the butter, peanut butter, both sugars, and oil in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high for 2 minutes, or until pale and light. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla, and beat just until blended. Add the flour in three additions, mixing on low speed between each addition, then add the oats and walnuts and mix until incorporated.

Scoop 1/4-cup mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, about six per sheet, spaced two inches apart. Dip a fork into a bowl of flour and use the fork’s tines to push the dough down twice in a crisscross pattern, so the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining cookies, dipping the fork into the flour between each cookie. (Refrigerate dough between batches.)

Bake the cookies for 25 minutes, rotating sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining batter, placing raw dough on cool baking sheets.


Filed under Cookies, dessert, recipe

4 responses to “Taking the good with the bad

  1. This recipe has a new slant on the old peanut butter cookie recipe. It almost sounds like a healthy cookie recipe. I will give this one a try.

  2. Beth

    The peanut butter cookie recipe was just a rouse, as I already had one at home. I just needed to keep you from going anywhere while your mom went to the airport.

    The surprise pic of you is one of my favorites.

  3. Pingback: I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor « hogwash

  4. J

    awww…they came in the mail yesterday !! They were still somewhat soft too. Not too crumble-y from the trip out here.


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