Day 314 – National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

The early bird gets the worm and in this case, he also gets the cookie. The peanut butter cookie to be exact. How do I know this? Because I woke up at 4 am to make cookies.

That’s not exactly true. I did wake up at 4 am, but it wasn’t to make cookies. I woke up at 4 am because there was a bright light in the sky shining in on me. It was still dark out although the sky was beginning to change. The light was a star, I think, but it was the only one in the sky.  It wasn’t straight above me either, it looked like it was only a few miles up in the sky. Our bed faces the door to our porch and so if I wake up in the middle of the night, I am staring right out into space, although on this night (morning), I was staring out at a super bright light. It startled me. I felt like it was either Jesus coming to take me home or it was a spy satellite pointed right at me. It didn’t flash, it didn’t move, it didn’t do anything. It just shone in the sky.   Eventually it would disappear into the daybreak, but when I awoke to a sudden bright object in the sky that’s not usually there, it kickstarted my brain into working. That’s what woke me up and after that, I was up. So I got out of bed and came downstairs so I wouldn’t wake Lola with my stirring.

I didn’t make cookies at that time. That was too early. I started my morning routine. Coffee. Put away the dishes. Sat down for a quick game of Nintendo hockey. Jumped into my office and checked the web. Wrote my blog post about Corn on the Cob. Made another cup of coffee. Now it was about 6:30, the time I usually get up. I still had time before I went to work. Lola was up now, but she needed her morning time so I left her alone. I decided to make cookies. I knew it was Peanut Butter Cookie Day so at some point during the day, unless I splurged on some Nutter Butters (an excellent cookie), I would have to make my own. I looked online for a recipe and I found one on Sally’s Baking Addiction.com. She’s one of my faves. Her recipe was for Big Bakery-Style Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies which were a copy-cat recipe of ones they sell at Wegman’s. I am not familiar with the Wegman’s cookie. I have only been to a Wegman’s once and had lunch in their buffet line (which was amazingly diverse and tasty). I figured they made good cookies too, so I was in. It was a good thing I read the recipe too because these are the kind of cookies that you need to chill the dough for a few hours before you bake them. This would work out perfect. I would make the dough, toss it in the fridge, go to work, come home and bake the cookies.

My only snag to my plan was that I didn’t have enough peanut butter or butter to make them. No worry though, Cumberland Farms was open so I made the quick jaunt up the hill. The Farm was bustling with morning people grabbing their 99 cent coffee, their doughnuts, their smokes and all kinds of supplies to start them on their day and I was there in my shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops buying butter and peanut butter. For the record, they stock Jif peanut butter which I know choosy-moms like, but choosy-Lolas prefers Skippy. She’d be ok with the substitution though. She’d probably never know – until now I guess. I was back home in minutes and jumped right into cookie making. I creamed the butter and sugars, added in the eggs and peanut butter, then mixed in the flour mixture. To finish it off, I added a bag of milk chocolate chips. The dough went into the fridge and then all I had to do was clean up my sizable mess. Now it was 7:45 and I had fifteen minutes to get ready for work. I had been up and at them for four hours at this point.

While I was at work, something happened. The sun stepped up its game. When I popped out for lunch at about 1 pm, the outside temperature reader on my car was pinned at 102 degrees. It was a scorcher. A full on heat blast. By the time I got out of work and was driving home, it had cooled down to a balmy 97 degrees. Perfect baking weather.

At this point I couldn’t not make them, so I took the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up a little so I could work with it. I also preheated the oven to 350 degrees, about 50 degrees above room temperature in our kitchen. I got to work. For these cookies, you roll your dough into balls, but your all them bigger than you would think. They came out bigger than golf balls in size. Then you roll them in sugar before you place them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. When they are all lined up eight to a pan, you push them down slightly so they are not so round before they go into the oven for about 15 minutes. I got three trays out of the batch for a total of 24 cookies. When they came out of the oven, I damped them down slightly with the backside of a spoon and let them cool right on the sheet pans so they would still keep cooking out of the oven. They didn’t look exactly done, but I trust this recipe maker implicitly, so I knew they would be fine once they cooled. They were.

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These were top notch. They were still nice and soft (even long after they cooled) and full of flavor. The peanut butter was front and center and it was nicely cut by the chunks of chocolate mixed throughout. The hints of sugar on the outside gave it a tinge of extra sweetness (which it needed to match the peanut butter). They were slightly crumbly with the softest of centers. Really one of the best cookies I have made. They would have been even better were it not 95 degrees out. It was just too hot to really enjoy a fresh baked cookie. Even when I tasted one, I wanted to bring one to Lola for her to have a taste, but then I realized she was sitting outside in the shade and the last thing she probably wanted was a warm cookie. She did have one later in the night and she agreed that they were spot on. A great, great cookie.

That was my story today and I hope the NSA, the KGB, KAOS or whoever was behind that glowing orb in the sky can collaborate it with their extra footage from this morning. I guess you can get a lot done if you wake up at 4 am, although I will say at 8 pm, you kind of turn into a puddle of nonsense. Still, I was able to crank out some pretty great cookies today. I celebrated in the middle of a heat wave. Peanut butter cookies aren’t my favorite. I prefer my peanut butter in different forms. However these cookies were one of the best, so there’s always time to appreciate new things, appropriately on National Peanut Butter Cookie Day too. I’ll make these again, preferably in the fall or when the temperature falls below 75 degrees. I might not wake up at 4 am to make them, but I will take my time. There’s a difference in how you view time when you busy yourself doing things you enjoy. Had I woken up early to get a jump on work, or taxes or root canal, I would have been exhausted by the end of the day. After waking up early and making cookies, I was still tired, but it was a good kind of tired (and a good kind of sweat). It made me feel like I was productive. That’s a win in my book and one that comes with a damn good cookie.

Next up: National Turkey Lover’s Month  

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