Peanut Butter Cookies

Any self-respecting baker has at least 2 dozen recipes for peanut butter cookies. They usually involve no more than 5 ingredients and vary little between recipes. But I have found one that works. And I did not create it myself. The Houston Chronicle, one of the 2 major newspapers I grew up with, printed a recipe in the early ’70s that my grandmother clipped. I came across it the other day and decided to give it a whirl. Simple, easy peasy, my friends. This is one worth copying down.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside, these cookies are gluten free and taking big bites makes you super happy. 

1 cup sugar + 2 TB sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda (or alternative)
1 egg
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and baking soda. Next, add egg and peanut butter and stir.

On a nonstick baking sheet, spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. (Cookies will spread out!) 

Sprinkle 2 TB sugar in a saucer or small dish. Grab a fork, dip it in water, then dip it in the sugar. Press each cookie down using the fork in an “X” pattern, repeating the “sugar and squish” process until all cookies are pressed down. 

Bake for 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a cooling rack. Eat some but share, too.

Happy eating!


Mochanut Cookies

You like that word, Mochanut?

Yeah, I made it up. A LOOOONNNG season of being MIA on this lovely blog means I must come up with a new word. And the definition:

Mo-cha-nut [moh-kuh-nuht, -nuht], noun  
1. the combination of espresso powder, semi-sweet chocolate, and shredded coconut into the perfect  trifecta of awesome happiness for your tastebuds
2. Hawaii, in cookie form
3. If you don’t care for Hawaii, insert your favorite dream vacation land and add “, in cookie form”

But enough about definitions and textbooks and whatnot….let’s make some cookies!

Proof that I didn’t eat ALL of the cookie dough..
 mochanut cookies
barely adapted from Annie
makes 3 dozen small cookies
not too sweet, not too rich. these cookies are breakfast-worthy with a little coffee. they’re also perfect for a grab-and-go sweet treat.
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
3 tbsp. espresso powder (or fine coffee grounds…no joke)
1 stick margarine + 1 stick butter at room temp
¾ cup brown sugar (not packed)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut  (I used unsweetened)
step one: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients (flour to coffee). Set aside.
step two: In a second bowl, combine butters, sugars and eggs. Use a mixer if you like. Stir well, until all combined. Add in the two extracts.
step three: Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until combined. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and coconut. Stir! 
step four: Drop by rounded tablespoons on a non-stick baking mat or cookie sheet. 12 will fit on a sheet. If you’d like giant cookies, get out an ice cream scoop. Either size, flatten cookies down with the back of a fork so they’ll cook more evenly. (This dough will be thick, friends.)
step five: Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until cookies are cooked through but soft to the touch. Try not to burn your fingers or mouth while devouring. Unleash your inner cookie monster! 🙂 

There you have it. A cookie recipe with the trifecta. Be sure to share with others. And now for some updates…
1. We moved. It’s a fun old house on a church campus. And a new job came with it that I’m really enjoying. And the wonder that is Oregon means that it’s sunny, hailing and rainy all at the same time. But it’s okay…I’m totally distracted by the AMAZING SPRING BLOOMS everywhere! I don’t know what most of the plants/flowers/trees/shrubs are called, but I’m thoroughly enjoying them. Every day I see a new bit of pink, purple, white or yellow that is a new bloom in our neighborhood. Here are a couple of recognizable ones right outside my door…
 2. My mom took me to Israel. Our group was amazing, and it was truly the trip of a lifetime. I’m ready to go back with Matt! It is the only trip I’ve taken that I don’t have words to describe it…a pilgrimage. Yes, that works. I’ll tell more later. And it was beautiful. Here’s the Sea of Galilee (outside of our hotel room): 
Shamrock Shake? Yeah, I had 1/2 of one…those things are huge! Happy (belated) St. Patty’s Day! 
 Okay, that’s enough updating. Bye for now, friends! It’s great to be back.

Happy eating! 


Lime Shortbread Cookies

Oh, boy, am I excited about this one! Are you? I’m graduating from Baylor TODAY and, in case you care nothing about RGIII or sports, you might not know our colors are green and gold. Of course, the basketball uniforms recently have been grey and a yellow highlighter color, so green has been hiding a bit. These cookies aren’t GREEN so much, but they’re “highlighted” by great green lime. (like that pun?) So, to thank my friends, family and professors, here’s a little green treat for you guys.

This is my mother-in-law’s (Pat’s) shortbread recipe. I must confess that I’ve never had rice flour when needed (for this recipe), so I skimp. Sorry, Pat. But I must say that these tasted pretty yum without it so, if ya don’t have it, no sweat! (but invest in some rice flour for tempura and other uses if you can) These were made using citrus sugar (which is so easy to make!), which added the aroma and texture that the topping sugar needed. Let’s get started.

Lime Shortbread Cookies
Good shortbread is crunchy, buttery and slightly sugary, but not overly so. This version add a refreshing hint of lime to enhance the simple purity of these little gems. Make, pat yourself on the back and try to share with others.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter + 1 stick margarine, softened not melted (no, I’m not kidding)
1/2 + 1/3 cup granulated/white sugar
2 TB rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 lime
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

small bowl, citrus grater/microplane, medium bowl, spoon, hands, 2 baking sheets, oven, cooling rack

step one: Preheat oven to 300. In the small bowl, grate the entire lime. Divide the zest in half. In the medium bowl, combine flours, butter/margarine, half of the zest and 1/2 cup sugar. Combine until a soft dough forms without any bumps. (I use a spoon for a minute and then use my hands for the rest of the time.)

step two: Make the lime sugar. Using 1/3 cup sugar, press the rest of the lime zest into the sugar. Mix with hands until the sugar and zest are combined and the zest oils have incorporated into the sugar. Set aside for sprinkling.

step three: On a baking sheet (you can spray or parchment it, but there’s so much butter in these little thangs, no need, really.), take 1-2 TB of dough and form “ladyfinger” shapes with hands. Line up on the baking pan and sprinkle with the lime sugar. Bake for 25 minutes, or until SLIGHTLY brown on the cookie edges and the middle is solid (no give when you touch it).

step three: Let cool on pan for 1 minute, then transfer to cooling rack. 

OPTIONAL step four: In a small ramekin or bowl, heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between. When the cookies have cooled for at least 15 minutes, dip one end of the cookie in the chocolate dip. Let cool for 15 more minutes on rack or refrigerate.

So there you have it…lime shortbread. Of course, you can mix it up with lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangelo, or mandarin zest as well. Enjoy while they last, and well done to the graduate(s) in your life!



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