Sunday, March 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

     The creation of these cookies led to the most embarrassing baking-centered disaster I have ever had. That is not to say that if you make these cookies this will happen to you, because quite frankly, it could only happen to a person at their most illogical and flight-minded moment. Let us begin:
      The other day I had an hour and a half before work. I needed to cook and eat lunch, pack dinner, and bake cookies to photograph. I finished making lunch and simultaneously placed my cookies in the oven. I took off my mitt and went over to the table to eat. I thought something smelled off about my dish-was the mustard bad? Was the tofu funky? Finally, I realized the bottom edge of the oven mitt was touching the burner that had just been on and was still wicked hot. I examined the oven mitt that was pouring smoke, and I could see the embers in it. 
      I calmly went to the outside door of my building, held it open and proceeded to do the stupidest thing I could have. I tried to hit the mitt against the stone wall...swinging it back and forth in the sweet oxygen-fueling air that fires love so much. At this point, the back parking lot was full of smoke and the glove was obviously beginning to pick up speed in its disintegration. I realized my absent mindedness, folded up the glove so the hot part was on the bottom and stepped on the un-damaged area with my barefoot. The smoke was dissipating and I relaxed. However, I relaxed to the point that my arm let the building door gently close. No shoes, no phone, no key, I was locked out...meanwhile, the oven mitt was still burning away.
      The parking lot was empty so I decided to walk around to the front, carrying the burning mitt. Lucky for me, a police car happened to be sitting right on the side of the block. When I explained to him what had happened he looked down and just said, "Um, yeah, that oven mitt is still on fire, so I am going to need you to put that out..." When I responded that I didn't have shoes on and he got out to assist. 
      We went around the building and he tried to pick the lock. With no success, he had me bang on the front door, as he walked around and hit all the windows he could with his flashlight to try to get someone to answer. I knocked away with looming knowledge that I still had cookies in the oven and work in an hour.
      We couldn't get anyone so he walked back down to the street and radioed in "...The party cannot gain entrance to the building..." Within four minutes though, I realized how dramatic he must have made the situation seem. A multitude of sirens were coming from all directions. No less than five fire trucks, three police expedition cars, and an ambulance rushed to the scene of me covering my face with my hands, simultaneously crying and laughing in embarrassment, barefoot in my sweatpants. Neighbors came out to see the spectacle and stare at me, while in the meantime I prayed no one tell them this was simply over peanut butter cookies.
     The firefighters busted into the building, carrying their giant extinguishers and returned to the front door about a minute later to ask me to come with them. Upon entrance, they had pulled the cookie out of the oven and turned it off. Miraculously, they had not burned and still looked and smelled delectable. So, I did what any baker would do in this situation. "Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. I am so embarrassed. Oh my you guys want cookies??"
      One of the firefighters and I chatted about the use of Silpats and I highly recommended them for even browning and easy clean up while also continuing to apologize about every five words. After a few minutes, the men left, I finished my lunch, put in new cookies with no disaster or oven mitt involved. RIP Mitty, looks like its just me and kitchen towels for protections for now. You did me well, I am sorry I cannot say the same for you. 

Adapted from Alice Medrich's "Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies"

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 TSP baking soda
3/4 fine sea salt
8 TBSP butter, unsalted, melted
1/4 C packed brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 1/4 natural, salted peanut butter, smooth (stirred)
1/3-1/2 C roasted, salted peanuts 

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter and sugars. 
3. Add the egg, vanilla,and peanut butter and mix until incorporated. Add in the peanuts stir to incorporate.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet-ingrediants and stir until no more flour streaks are visable. It is a thick dough.
5. Flatten into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refridgerate for 2 hours to 3 days. 
6. When you are ready, take out the dough to warm up for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F. Then, scoop the dough into balls and flatten with your hand or the back of a glass.
7. Bake for 13-17 minutes (less if you want softer and chewier and longer if you want a bit more crumbly-they are good both ways but the lesser time was my favorite!)
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks!

Boulder Butter

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