Traditionally, I eat food. I don’t cook it. I may throw money at the ingredients, or agree to do favors for the cook in return for the end product, but I do not cook.
But there are two exceptions to this rule: breakfast and sweets.
Via this knitting blog, then, when I stumbled onto Lottie + Doof with their then-most-recent post concerning Zingerman’s, I expressed only the polite interest of an eater (not a cook). Until I scrolled down and found out they talked quite a bit about cakes, cookies and pies, too.
Today I made the peanut butter cookie recipe posted there, watching them carefully though because unlike Tim, whose blog it is, I vastly prefer soft, undercooked mushy cookies to crispy ones. And I have mixed feelings about the results. On the one hand, I should probably buy or receive (yes, well, I suppose wedding registries are good for that, even if awkward-feeling) a sifter. I’m aware it makes a difference and I knew I didn’t have one beforehand, but I hoped it wouldn’t matter much. I didn’t run into any foul patches of baking soda or powder, but I did encounter some overly-salty cookies. Which brings me to my next problem. Salt. It called for kosher salt and while every kitchen I’ve been in recently has stocked kosher salt exclusively, no one has yet been able to tell me what’s so great about it. Our best guess was size and grain. So I used the fancy grinding shaker R’s sister got him a few years ago for Christmas, assuming that the big grainy salt chunks inside could be kosher salt. And maybe they were! But there were still some awfully large chunks of salt in the end, and I think some of the larger ones led to those salt-lick cookies. Which isn’t the end of the world–I know the salt is there to set off the sweetness. I just don’t like feeling like I have to chug a glass of water every time I eat a cookie.
On the other hand, I think I probably have a questionable lineage of peanut butter cookies to compare these to. I can’t think of any peanut butter cookies I’ve eaten that weren’t store-bought or made from a pre-fabricated bag mix. Which would be fine except I then assume that an ingredient missing from my cookies, MSG, was probably present in boatloads in those earlier cookies. Which I assume skews my comparison unfairly. While the peanut buttery taste of these cookies was up to snuff, they were a bit dry for me. I took them out in time to be soft and everything, but there is more air in them than I could wish. When it comes to cookies [I am a fan of], density is your friend! (Note that I bear little love for meringues, Krispy Kreme doughnuts or other air-intensive treats.)
Still, at least the apartment smells great now. And R likes them. He’ll eat anything placed in front of him while he plays through the single-player missions in Starcraft, so my cookies will find a warm belly to lie in. Also I got to use the electric whisk my mom sent me for the first time. We don’t have a mixer per se, so on previous baking expeditions I used the blender…which worked well with more watery mixes, but not so much on thick doughs like those used for cookies. So the whisk was definitely an improvement, and vastly gentler on my wrists than a full-fledged mixer would be.
It’s good to know of a tried-and-true peanut butter cookie recipe, I suppose, if the craving ever strikes you. But I’m not sure this is it, for me.
ETA: Actually there are three exceptions — I also do soups/stews. As long as presentation is not a factor.