Minimalist Cookies

Friday, November 13, 2009

Plain Jane Sugar Cookies

Plain Jane Sugar Cookies

Okay so maybe you’re allergic to peanut butter, or your kids are, or your neighbor’s kids are, or maybe you just think it’s a gross disgusting food product that you can’t understand why anyone would want to eat. You’re saying enough with the cookie recipes with peanut butter, give me a cookie I can eat.

This recipe is courtesy of my hero Marion Cunningham, and it’s basically a cookie with the fewest ingredients you can put together and still have a cookie. They remind me of the Van De Kamp’s sugar cookies my grandmother used to always have in her house when we lived in Seattle.

This is sort of the opposite from the last recipe I gave — those are everything cookies, and the recipe is huge; these are basically nothing cookies and the recipe makes just the right amount. These are what I end up making when I want something sweet but all the chocolate is gone.

Plain Jane Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the cookie sheets.

Cream butter. Add sugar and cream together. Add egg and vanilla and mix. Add remaining ingredients and mix until all are combined.

Drop in well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets about 2½ inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass or small cup to flatten the mounds of dough; begin by putting the bottom of the glass in dough to make it sticky and then dip the glass in suagar before pressing down on each cookie. Repeat when stickiness disappears. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are light golden. Remove from the cookie sheets and cool on racks.

Peanut Butter Cookies, Part II

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

Really a Lot of Cookies

I know all of you peanut butter haters are sick of me by now—this will be the last peanut butter recipe for a while, I promise. But this is the one I was supposed to put up in the first place, so no choice on that.

This is another recipe that my mom got when she was living in Kansas, and this is one of the cookie recipes I make the most.

The full recipe is huge—it makes nine dozen (!) cookies—so if I’m not making them for a very large party or a weekend trip, I usually I cut the recipe in half. I made the full recipe this time to see exacly how many it makes (so I could say something more specific than that it makes “really a lot” of cookies), even though I have no use for even one cookie much less nine dozen. So if anyone is in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by and pick up a few dozen cookies.

I think of these as “food cookies” because they feel mostly wholesome even though they have a lot of sugar in them. (I was working for a while to adjust the recipe to use less sugar, but I skipped the step where I come up with a mini-version of the recipe, so every time I tried a new version I ended up with four dozen cookies, and I realized I was going to gain at least 20 pounds before I managed to come up with a recipe that worked. So, sadly, I had to pull the plug on that little experiment.)

One of my friends has in her household two small picky eaters who need to gain weight. They liked these cookies for a while (though I think they turned on them eventually; they’re really picky eaters), so she decided to maximize the calories by making sandwiches out of them, with peanut butter, banana slices, and extra chocolate chips and raisins in between two cookies. That’s some carbo loading! Not recommended for those of us who are not underweight.

The recipe I have written down is actually extremely vague—it’s one of those “cook until done” recipes—so I’ll try to describe what I do, but basically you just mix everything together, drop onto cookie sheets, and kind of squish them down before putting in the oven. Then cook until they’re puffed up and just turning brown.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 18-oz jar chunky-style peanut butter
1 6-oz package (small bag) chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
6 cups rolled oats

Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix. Add baking soda and vanilla and mix. Add peanut butter, chocolate chips, and raisins and mix. Add oats and mix until all is combined.

Drop by tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet and press down to flatten and squish together. (Yes, thank you, “squish” is the proper technical cooking term for that.)

Bake at 350 degrees. Take out of the oven when they’re puffed up and just turning brown. They’ll finish cooking when you take them out, and they’re better if they’re not too done.

The recipe I have says “nuts (optional)” but I’ve never made them with nuts so I can’t vouch for that. But if you dig nuts in your cookies, feel free to add them.