Falsetti: Indulge your inner child with peanut butter cookies
Back in the days when I was teaching English as a second language, I learned that there are many cultural aspects associated with food besides the preparation and ingredients.
One occasion particularly stands out.
I was sitting in the classroom after class with a group of Chinese students. A female student stood up and walked around with a bag of candy to offer her fellow students. She began with me and then proceeded to give some to her classmates. I noticed, though, that she didn’t offer any to the males in the class. Instinctively, I knew that this was not a question of rudeness.
When I asked her about it, she informed me that these particular candies were “girls’ food," and that the males would have been insulted if she had offered them any.
Aside from the real men who don’t eat quiche, in the United States we don’t think of food as being gender-specific. We do, however, designate what to eat according to age. Hence, we have the idea of children’s menus in restaurants.
One food in particular that is associated with kids is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In fact, peanut butter itself has been labeled as a food that is mostly consumed by children.
To all of this I say, bah humbug!
I love all things peanut butter. A week doesn’t pass that I don’t eat at least one peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My peanut butter usage doesn’t stop there. I add it to soup, sauces, and of course, cookies.
Below is a recipe for the peanutiest cookies you can make. Be sure you choose a natural type peanut butter. Conventional peanut butter (think Jif) contains additives such as hydrogenated oils, sugar, soy protein, corn syrup and stabilizers. The brand you choose should have just two ingredients — peanuts and salt. I have sampled many brands, and my preference is Smuckers All Natural peanut butter.
The recipe makes about 100 cookies, so there will be plenty to share after you have indulged your inner child.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce jar “natural” peanut butter
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two cookie sheets. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, at least 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter and eggs, and mix. Add the flour and salt and mix until just well-combined..
Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoon capacity), scoop dough onto the prepared pans. The cookies will not spread much or change shape when they bake, so they can be placed quite close together. I put 25 per sheet.
Sprinkle each cookie lightly with coarse sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are set and golden brown.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.