Ready or Not #127: Peanut Butter Cookies

For food storage purposes, storing peanut butter is the best.  It is a crowd pleaser, you can use it to make the all-popular peanut butter and jam sandwich, you can use it to flavor main dishes (especially Chinese), and you can make delicious desserts with it.  Peanut butter stores well and it is also a really good source of protein.

Many years ago when I had a day care in my home, I used to cut up apple wedges and cover the tops with peanut butter.  The kids loved them.  If I had been smart, instead of wedging the apples, I would have cored them and then made flat slices to smear the peanut butter on, much like you would a cracker.  I think it would have been easier for the kids to hold onto and it certainly would have made it easier for me to keep the peanut butter in place.  Either way, it is a delicious and healthy snack that doesn’t deliver a sugar rush.

You can buy organic peanut butter, make your own peanut butter or just go to the store and buy your favorite brand – smooth or chunky.  I love it all, but I do prefer a little sugar in mine.  When I lived in Denmark my Danish family asked me why Americans were so enamored with peanut butter.  They were under the impression that we fed peanut butter sandwiches to our kids everyday (and maybe some of us do).  I told them that we fed our children a wider variety of foods than just peanut butter, but that as a group of people we really enjoy our thick, peanuty, creamy, tongue sticking delight.

I asked them why they didn’t use peanut butter more often.  After all, they had a teenage son with a bottomless stomach and peanut butter was one sure way to fill it up.  The next day, my Danish mother bought a bottle of Danish peanut butter and it was – well, it was horrible.  It was grainy, tasteless and somewhat bitter, and the oil was completely separated and we had to really work at mixing it back together – and it was yellow, very unappetizing.  I’m so glad that I live in America – for so many different reasons, and peanut butter is one of them.

This is my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe.  It is just an old fashioned recipe that anyone can make.  Peanut butter cookies are a really good easy recipe to start teaching kids how to bake because they are easy to make and easy to eat – and it is fun to use the fork to smash the cookies down.  Just a hint – have a small bowl of flour next to the cookie pan when smashing the cookies down and press the fork tines in the flour after pressing each cookie.  This will help the cookies not to stick to the fork.

Peanut Butter Cookies
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ¼ cup white flour
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda

Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients together and blend into creamed mixture.  Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in a bowl of granulated sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Criss-cross the top of the ball with the back of the fork, slightly flattening them.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool slightly, serve with cold milk and enjoy.

Peanut butter can be used for many things: taking gum out of hair, making exotic sauces for your food, eating it in sandwiches, candy or cookies.  You can also have a fun time by making a game out of trying to talk to your kids when you have a lot of peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.  Peanut butter must be rotated because it has oil in it and can go rancid, but any way you say it, peanut butter is a good food storage buy.

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