What's Going on Today: Snow still on the ground, off to the park to attempt snowman #2 of the week, grocery shopping for weekend goodies.
Naptime Goals: Bake cookies with the dough I made last night, Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich for lunch, catch up on emails (!)
Tonight's Menu: Leftover Tomato Florentine Soup with cheese toast, peanut butter cookies for dessert.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Teach kids to steer clear of yellow snow!
Winter is dragging on forever and it is driving me crazy. As you can see in the video above, the piles of snow on our somewhat clear sidewalk are over my daughter's head - and are almost as tall as me! Cooperstown NY, where I grew up, gets more snow than any place I know so I should be used to this, but I still don't like it.
The funny thing about snowstorms is that they go hand in hand with comfort food. When the snow flies I have no interest in sushi or tempura, I want soups, sandwiches and peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter. My love for peanut butter is fairly serious. You can ask anyone of my childhood friends, peanut butter has been my go-to comfort food since before I can remember. It was the exclusive main course in my lunch box for at least the first five years of grade school.
When the snowstorm struck the other day it triggered my comfort food reflex and I immediately reached the peanut butter jar in our pantry. Cookies felt like a must so I employed one of my favorite Naptime Chef techniques and made peanut butter cookie dough during my daughter's naptime, then left it wrapped in the fridge overnight. The next day I retrieved the dough during naptime, baked the cookies and treated myself to a Peanut Butter and Honey sandwich for lunch. The following day I also made myself a big batch of soba noodles with peanut butter sauce, but that is a recipe for another time.
To help you along with your peanut butter recipe repertoire, here are a few of my favorites! Enjoy!
Naptime Chef's Favorite Peanut Butter Cookie Recipes:
1. Peanut Butter Cookies by Cook's Illustrated: Soft, moist and chock full of peanut butter flavor, these are my favorite peanut butter cookies of all time. The dough is incredibly simple to make and tastes even better when allowed to rest for a day in the fridge before baking. To give it a little crunch I recommend adding a handful of chopped roasted peanuts.
2. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters by Dorie Greenspan: The combination of chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal in this cookie is practically lethal. The chewy texture and slightly caramelized flavor of these cookies are perfectly balanced with a hefty dose of chocolate. Beware, it is very easy to eat the entire tray fresh out of the oven.
3. Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes by Martha Stewart: Leave it to Martha to figure out take a typical peanut butter cookie recipes over the top. These little beauties are heavy on flavor and are sure to impress. Sometimes I like to dip the tops in chocolate to give them a peanut butter cup look and taste.
4. Peanut Butter Blossoms: Though baked mostly during the holiday season, these cookies are great year-round. In fact, I am hard pressed to understand what exactly is so Christmas-y about them. I love that they are like an inside out peanut butter cups. I grew up calling them Cyclops cookies.
Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, 1996
2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. superfine sugar or regular granulated sugar
2/3 c. good quality commercial peanut butter (preferbly organic)
1 t. Kosher Salt
1 egg yolk
2 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1. In an electric mixer cream the butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Then, add the egg yolk, egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
2. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl before proceeding. Then, add the salt and flour in small amounts with the mixer on low until it is just incorporated.
3. Wrap dough in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour, or for up to 24 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Roll the dough into 1" round balls, wet the tips of your fingers and press them into round disks with a flat top, about 1/8" thick. Then, use fork tines to make a criss-cross pattern on the top of the cookie. Bake for 6-8 minutes or longer, until the cookies golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches
2 slices soft whole wheat bread
1-2 T. peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, your choice)
2 t. good honey
1. Layer the peanut butter on one side of the bread with a knife. Then, drizzle the honey on top and close sandwich with the second slice of bread. Cut and serve with a side of salty pretzels or chips. Note: A nice addition to this are sliced banana or apples if you want to adjust the flavors.
Peanut Butter and Crackers
2 Butter Cracker (like Ritz or similar
1 t. creamy peanut butter
1. Dollop peanut butter on bottom of one cracker and close with the other. Serve. Note: This works best with creamy peanut butter, the crunch adds too much extra texture.