Chewy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

My friend Ann found this recipe for me.  I love the connections we have forged (or re-forged) on Facebook.  If it were not for new found connections with old friends, I wouldn’t know of her quest for a perfectly chewy oatmeal peanut butter cookie.  And I might not have been inspired to try to make one myself.  So, as I baked these today, I was counting my blessings in this dear friend.   Not sure if she tried this recipe…  Did you, Ann?

Ann and I went to high school together.  We were friends, but in a class of only 34 (36?), everyone is a “friend.”  We didn’t really know each other well.  She was always funny, and I enjoyed her.  I knew she liked to write, because she, Monica, and I won the “America & Me Essay Contest” in the 8th grade.  Our small town life was full.   There were walks uptown for lunch, which may very well have included chocolate covered peanuts from the glass candy counter at Morhart’s Dime store; for $1 we rode the bus to the away games  to root on our Mighty Bobcats, and home games were the best, with the band blasting our fight song.  There were dances uptown, various plays and musicals, and opportunities to play sports; we did it all.  Just a walk down memory lane here for me… the point being… even with all the things we did in school,  I know Ann so much better now.  I know more about the every day stuff, even though she is in Michigan and I am in Washington.  She cares fiercely about her friends, and I want to do that for everyone God puts in my path.  We should get to know each other better, however that takes shape.  I have found quite a few incredible people on FB.  I would not be connected to them at all otherwise, and I am so glad I know them.  Some I may only see face to face once a year, but we are connected.  Some of them are my neighbors!   What a blessing.  If someone makes you smile, or makes you think, or gets your joke, you walk through the day a little lighter.  We need to share our lives with each other (and not just on social media…)

Here is our recipe.  The original was done by weight, and in the metric system…not sure, but maybe Canadian, aye?  Luckily, there are online calculators for us to convert recipes from pounds to cups – and for temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit!  (9/5c+32?…find the conversion calculator… so much easier).  The recipe called for castor sugar, which is baker’s sugar.  It is a super fine granulation, and available in your grocery store.  I imagine it adds to the chewy texture.  These cookies baked beautifully.  I may be trying baker’s sugar in more recipes!

Chewy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies      350 degrees, 12-14 mins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup baker’s sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • optional: 2 cups milk choc chips (One of the only times I do milk chocolate – with peanut butter – and I liked Nestle for this – just a bit sweeter than Hershey’s – oooh, M&M’s would be good instead!)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butters and sugars
  3. Add egg, vanilla, and water
  4. Mix well 
  5. Add the flour, soda, and the baking powder and mix well
  6. Add oatmeal & chocolate, mixing lightly
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes

Image

Original recipe found here:

http://baking.food.com/recipe/chewy-oatmeal-peanut-butter-cookies-240220?scaleto=36&mode=us&st=true&oc=linkback#

Coconut-Pecan with White Chocolate and Lime Sugar Glaze

Under the wire!  My September Auction cookie!

We have had a beautiful summer.  It really seemed to go on into our fall season, so I thought I could use my summer cookie for September..  So this is it.  And it is my new favorite!

In past summers, I have played with lime and coconut in cookies.  This time, I don’t need to look any further.  I made them for an event in June at church, but thought they lacked a bit.  I do love nuts.  Bought some macadamia nuts, but really found them to be a little off.  Anyone else feel that way?  If they didn’t come directly from Hawaii, and are really fresh, the oils seem to go bad.  Anyway, I did have pecans, and they were just right.

I have someone new to bake auction cookies for this year.  The Principal at Valley Christian!  Gloria’s daughter bought them for her.  What a sweet gift!  I got the seal of approval from her husband Loren this morning.  He said that he really enjoyed these cookies.

When I think of Valley, I can’t help but mention Marvalene.  Continue to keep her in your prayers.  She is still fighting that cancer.  I caught her in her office a couple of times recently.  She looked good, and was in good spirits, but of course chemo and the fight have taken a toll.

Coconut-Pecan with White Chocolate and Lime Sugar Glaze    375 degree oven, 8-10 mins

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • Lime glaze to be set aside –  mix all together:
  • lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. beat butter for 30 seconds
  2. add sugars, baking soda, and salt
  3. beat in egg and vanilla
  4. add flour
  5. stir in coconut, pecans, and white chocolate chips
  6. drop by rounded teaspoons – makes 2 to 2 1/2 dozen
  7. bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes
  8. let cool somewhat before brushing on glaze, ok to glaze while slightly warm.

Sugar Cookies and Butter Cream Frosting

I am going to tell you a secret…  shhhh!  I never make frosted sugar cookies.  (They aren’t Cookie Jar Cookies…)  But my geometry class requested them, and I would do anything to get those kids to do their homework.  If they love me more, they will turn in the homework on time, right?

I think I made these once when Levi was little (he will soon be 20!).   Memories of that day were of how my back hurt, the kid wasn’t that interested,  and that frosting all those cookies was just too much work!!!  So the boy has no lasting memories of frosting cookies with his mamma.  Year after year, we have happily eaten the cookies we found at Grandma’s house.  I think Levi would be with me on the tediousness of frosting cookies anyway, so I don’t think I damaged him too badly by letting him think Grandma was the only one who knew how to make those delicious Christmas cookies.    Such a lazy baker I am!  I do love a drop cookie.  Fast, easy,  and no frosting.

Knowing this, you might doubt this recipe I am going to share….  Now, now… wait a minute.  I have EATEN PLENTY of sugar cookies.  Really, really good ones, and ones that were just… not.  Not bad, but just unimpressive.  It isn’t supposed to be all about the frosting, the cookie should taste good too.  And I have studied this well.  I am, if nothing else, a cookie connoisseur.  I know exactly how a good sugar cookie should taste.  Exactly.  So I perused my recipe books with this in mind.  I compared butter : sugar : flour ratios, and chose my recipe.   I chose one with a little higher sugar ratio because I wanted it to be sweet, and this recipe uses powdered sugar, which, I imagine, gets more sugar to the taste buds.

Rookie sugar cookie baker, yes, but sometimes a rookie can hit one out of the park!  These are really, really good,  and totally worth the effort.

I could serve them with butter cream dip… I’m a thinker…. and still trying to get out of frosting them.

I do know that it is not Valentine’s Day… it was either the heart, or Santa Claus.

SUGAR COOKIES        375 degree oven        7-8 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla butter & nut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix powdered sugar and butter
  2. Add vanilla and almond extract, and egg
  3. Combine dry ingredients, then add to wet
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours
  5. Divide dough in half
  6. Roll to 3/16 inch on lightly floured surface
  7. Cut into desired shapes
  8. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets
  9. Bake 7-8 minutes
  10. Cool on wire racks completely before frosting

CREAMY VANILLA FROSTING
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • apx 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Mix butter and sugar
  2. Add vanilla and milk
  3. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency
These recipes from 1986 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.

Molasses or Oatmeal? Both!

When I started this blog, I shared that the cookies I make each month are for an auction that supports Valley Christian School. Marvalene and Bob had the winning bid this year.  Marvalene had been trying to win the cookie jar for a few years, and finally she did.

This month, I wondered what cookie would taste best to Marvalene. I wanted to make something that would be comforting to her.  I could not decide, so I made both Molasses and Oatmeal.  You see, Marvalene has been diagnosed with cancer recently, and I wasn’t sure how she was feeling.  I don’t believe she has started any treatment.  I see on the prayer chain that today she was admitted to the hospital for more testing.  I hope this means answers for Marvalene and her family, and getting started with treatment soon.

Marvalene has worked at Valley Christian forever (ok, I don’t really know how long, but I think since it opened 30+ years ago).  She is the accounting department.  She wouldn’t have to have much contact with the kids, but Marvalene loves kids.  You don’t have to be at VCS very long before you find out about her candy drawer.  I often hear the kids begging mom or dad to go visit Marvalene.  That drawer is not just a treasure trove of candy, it’s an open door and a smile.  It is an invitation to come.  It lets the kids know that Marvalene is there for them.  They can come, have a piece of candy, and share their hearts.

This photo was taken on Grandparent’s Day a couple of years ago.  Marvalene’s  grand-daughter, Miranda is the tall one in back (she isn’t that tall – everyone else must be really short!)  The other girls’ grandparent’s could not be there, so they had a picture with Marvalene.  She is dearly loved.  Keep her in your prayers for us.

My favorite oatmeal cookie.  The recipe is from Snoqualmie Falls Lodge.  I only bought the Snoqualmie Falls Oatmeal once, but I am so glad I tried this recipe.  (I go a little lighter on the cinnamon, and I skipped the raisins)

The molasses cookie is from allrecipes.com, submitted by Marjorie Jenkins.  It is a great cookie:

Oatmeal Dream Cookies                                  375 degrees     8-10 mins

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups Snoqualmie Falls Lodge® Oatmeal
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  1. Cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla on low-speed until smooth
  2. Stir in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt until blended
  3. Add oatmeal and raisins 
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes

Favorite Molasses Cookies           375 degrees     8-10 mins

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  1. cream butter and sugar
  2. Beat in molasses and egg
  3. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture
  4. Chill for 1 hour or until firm
  5. Shape into 1-in. balls
  6. Roll in sugar 
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned
  8.  Cool on wire racks

Chocolate Chip or Else!

I am always excited to try a new cookie each month. Especially because for years all I baked were chocolate chip cookies for my husband and son.

Well, with November’s cookie, I got a, “You know, you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies,” from my son.

Then I made the December cookie, the Mexican Wedding Cookie, and my son said, “What is this?! I told you, you can never go wrong with chocolate chip!”

Then his father quickly joined the conversation saying, “Yeah, what’s with all the foo-foo girly cookies?!”

Fearing that they were planning to mutiny, I made sure they got some chocolate chip cookies for Christmas.  Today is my husband’s birthday, so with another batch of chocolate chips, I (hopefully) have appeased the men in the household and have kept the peace for at least another month.

These are truly THE family favorite in the Johnson household.  This is the recipe I have used for 20+ years.

I have strong opinions about chocolate chip cookies.  Here are some rules I expect you to follow:

Rule # 1 – use unbleached flour (this is a general cookie rule).

Rule #2 – use ONLY Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips – true chocolate chip cookies call for the contrasting flavor of dark chocolate and sweet cookie.  Regarding this chip, I have done taste tests, and this is the one you want.  It is large, and a bit flat, and creates a wonderful layering of chocolate in your cookie.

Rule #3 – under-bake slightly and let the cookie set on the pan for a minute or two before removing to a cooling rack.

Annita’s Chocolate Chip Cookies      375 degree oven, 8-10 mins

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (if these were for me… and not my boys)
  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Add egg and vanilla, mix
  3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda
  4. Mix dry into wet
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes
  7. If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Sugar n’ Spice Coffee Slices

You don’t know how wonderful these smelled coming out of my oven!  With just the aroma of espresso and cinnamon, I knew they were good.  I could still smell them in my sleep last night!  So delicious I could barely stop taste testing (it’s in the job description).  With the first bite, I could have stopped, knowing this is one of the best cookies I have ever had, but I had to have another, and another; each bite a confirmation that this may be my favorite cookie ever.  

Just out of the oven, a bit chewy, the coffee bean warmly wrapped in the center was a nice surprise as its bitterness mixed with the sweet cookie.  Then this morning, I needed to try one cold…ok, two.  Still good.  Now they are crisp and delicious.  The trick will be to stop eating them!

For this cookie we make the dough into logs and chill for a couple of hours.  I love the process of slicing and dipping the tops into the sugar and espresso mixture.  I did not measure my slices, and I definitely cut them too thin.  The crisp cookie is beyond delectable, but my heart still wants a bit of that chewy texture to come through, thicker slices would do it.  Either way, these are not going to last long!  My son also gave his seal of approval this morning – although he prefers the ones without the coffee bean.  (Fine by me!)

In gathering ingredients, look for a finely ground instant espresso to use.  To decorate the cookie, find beautifully oily espresso beans that boast a dark, sweet, caramel flavor. 

I like to do taste tests, so I bought two varieties of instant coffee.  The Starbucks Via and a cheaper variety called Megadaglia D’Oro (found at Winco in the NW).  Both make a great cup of coffee!  Starbucks is more finely ground, so it will work better for the outside of the cookie.  While I shudder at spending almost $1 per cup for the Starbucks Via instant coffee, that $1-ish ($6.50 per 8 pack) is easy to spend on a really great batch of cookies.  On a side note, I am also thinking the Via would be a great stocking stuffer, it is really good coffee… it would be great for camping… or if you need “emergency” coffee to carry in your purse… but that is off the subject.

I will run out of these cookies soon!  I may have to make another batch for Thanksgiving.  After all, pie and coffee are a perfect combination.

Sugar n’ Spice Coffee Slices    375 degree oven, 7-9 mins per batch

  • 2 T. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1 T. hot water
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 C. shortening
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 t. instant espresso
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • coffee beans (optional)
  1. Combine the 2 tablespoons of instant coffee and water, stirring until dissolved.  Set aside.
  2. Combine butter and shortening.  Beat on medium to high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Beat until combined.  Beat in egg and coffee mixture.  Add flour.
  3. Divide dough into thirds.  Shape each portion into a  7 inch log.  Wrap with plastic or wax paper.  Chill about 2 hours, or until firm enough to slice.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.  Mix 1/4 c. sugar and 1 t. instant espresso powder, pour onto a plate for dipping the tops of cookies.  Slice dough into 3/8-inch slices.  Dip tops and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Press coffee bean into center of each slice.
  5. Bake 7-9 minutes.  Let stand for 1 minute on cookie sheet.  Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 48 cookies. 

Per cookie:  102 calories, 4 g total fat/2 g sat fat  (I usually count calories on Monday morning, then give up by about 1 pm)

Squirrel Cookies

I love everything nutty, chocolate and nuts, nuts and berries, nuts and nuts… I even like life to be a bit nutty.  My husband might go as far as to say I am nuts!  I am a kindred spirit with the squirrels in my backyard.

Growing up in Michigan, there were squirrels everywhere.  There were black squirrels, gray squirrels, and red squirrels, and even the occasional gray squirrel with a red tail.  I would watch them from my upstairs bedroom window as they played high in the branches of the towering maples that dwarfed our two-story Victorian home.

After college, I married and moved to Oregon with my sweet husband.  That was 25 years ago!  Where we first lived, I did not have squirrels in my backyard.  I really don’t recall a squirrel at all.  Maybe I was too busy starting my life to notice.  In 2000 we moved to Washington, and I was thrilled to make the acquaintance of three squirrels who had claimed my backyard as their own.  As I watched them play, I felt as if they were saying, “Welcome home.”

Squirrels are a constant blur of activity.  As I see how busy they are, I know I need be busy, too.  Scurry!  Scurry!  I am so happy with a day that is full of accomplishment.  I do often wonder how they find the nuts that they hide everywhere.  Then I laugh at myself.  After 10 years in this house, my treasures are also buried everywhere!

Our dear beagle, Chipper was with us when we first moved here.  We lost him a few years ago.  It gives me a chuckle to remember how the squirrels would play and tease Chipper.  They would get close, allowing him the thrill of the chase. As he bayed at them in the trees, they laughed back, twitching their tails.  I like to tease and play also.  Gently teasing my husband and son brings joy and laughter to our days.

As the squirrels are gathering nuts for the winter, they remind me to be preparing for what life will bring.  I am dependent on the Lord’s provision.  We all face hard things in life.  Whatever the battle is, experience has taught me that the Lord will provide, and the strength I need for those moments is in a constant gathering.  Each morning, I am gathering wisdom for my day and seeking God’s direction for my life.  His provision will be more than enough.

Be busy, be joyful, trust God for his provision, gather his wisdom for your life, and let me know what you think of the cookies!

My cookies, and the little squirrel hubby gave me when we were dating. 

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“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  Acts 14:17

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Squirrel Cookies       375 degree oven, 10-12 minutes

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mapleine flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut (island squirrels)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips (honest, they like these)
  1. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy
  2. Add next eggs and maple flavor, beat until smooth
  3. Combine dry ingredients
  4. Add dry to wet
  5. Stir in coconut, oats, hazelnuts and butterscotch chips.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until brown
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Makes 3-4 dozen