Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies! Please excuse the quality of the pictures. I took them on my iPod.

Sorry, it took so long to post another recipe!  I was without internet in my apartment, but I have it now.  Woohoo!

Last weekend I was missing Emily M. like crazy.  Specifically, I was missing our Cookie Company cookie dates like crazy.  When she was in school in Lincoln, we would meet at the downtown location and sit on a bench outside and eat peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies while people watching.  Their cookies are seriously the best.  So when I was at my parents’ house last weekend with free range of their kitchen (and ingredients) and nothing to do except miss my friend and watch the documentation of Kim Kardashian’s failed marriage (Please don’t judge my viewing choices.  I was watching Chopped, but a guy cut his finger then put a latex glove on so he could finish making his meal and the glove kept filling up with blood, so I had to change the channel), I decided to make some.  I found this recipe at the Brown Eyed Baker’s blog and was very pleased.  I think the recipe only made around 15 cookies, but you could easily double it.  Plus, it’s sometimes nice not to have a ton of cookies around.  Trust me, you’ll want to keep eating this.  A limited quantity is probably a good thing.

Now on to the cookies… The blog post said that each ball of dough should weigh 1.7 oz.  I weighed the first couple on my mom’s food scale and the battery ran out.  But really, unless you’re entering them in the fair for 4H you probably don’t need them to be that perfect.  A 1.7-ounce cookie was pretty much my mom’s big cookie scoop (I think it was probably closer to 1 or 2 tablespoons than 3, which is what the recipe calls for) with a little bit more dough added on.

Also, I can get a little out of hand with chocolate chips.  Usually I measure out what the recipe says and then pour a little more into the dough… and then usually a little bit more after that.  I don’t know if it’s because I love chocolate chips or if straying from the recipe just makes me feel like a rebel.   It doesn’t matter what I’m making.  I always add more chocolate chips.   However, this recipe had the PERFECT amount of chocolate chips.  I was pleased.  Enjoy!!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

This is either a picture of the ingredients, or an Affiliated Foods ad. On that note, I shall deliver the best grocery related pickup line ever: "Do you work for Affiliated Foods, cause you're Shurfine!" Get it???

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

I feel it's important to make sure you have plenty of Diet Coke on hand before starting any project. At least any day time project. If it's after 5:00 p.m., replace Diet Coke with wine.

3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.

See... perfect chocolate chips:everything else ratio.

4. Use a large cookie scoop and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

I love when so many cookies have been made on a pan that you can see the cookie outlines. I spaced these out a little bit more since they were bigger and I wasn't sure how much they'd spread out.

First pan, finished! Actually, I looked at these for about 2 minutes after taking them out of the oven and decided the needed to go back in for a little bit longer. So this is the NEARLY finished first pan.

Second pan, finished! I decided to keep these in the oven a little bit longer after the timer went off. I started doing some dishes and forgot about them, so they were a little big crispier--but, luckily, not burnt.


Thanksgiving Pies


Left to right: Pumpkin, Cherry, Apple

I think I probably made my first pie when I was around 12 or 13.  It was sort of like a rite of passage.  It was, however, a much more pleasant rite of passage than everything else teenage girls had to go through.  My maternal grandma taught both my sister and I how to make pies.  I remember rolling out a perfect pie crust to start with, and my grandma praised me so much for it.  Being a typical youngest child, anything that gets me positive attention gets a repeat.  I thought that pie making would be my thing.  And while I do love making pies, I’m not so sure I’m as good as I thought I was when I was 12.  My sister is the true pie expert in our family.  Since she couldn’t make it home this year, I made the pies.  Sometimes I think it would be easier to just buy a crust, but where’s the fun in that?

Also… for the pumpkin pie, I just used the recipe on the back of a Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling can.  I’ve tried using real pumpkin, but in my opinion the can is just a lot easier and tastes better.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I should have tried something a lot simpler for my first post, but we will get through it together.   Remember, it’s my first time.  Please, please, please be patient.  Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of all the formatting stuff.

This pie crust recipe dates back to at least when my older sister made pies for 4-H.  The recipe we have on hand is copied down on a piece of paper that has details for the 4-H Song Contest on the back, so it’s not too thorough.  I will do my best to give better directions, but just ask if you have questions… and then I will ask my mom what she would do.  I think in general, a good rule of thumb is to mix all ingredients so they stick together and form a ball, but you really don’t want to over mix it.  If you over-mix, the dough will become tough and you might become grumpy.  Not that I know anything about making an imperfect pie crust or being grumpy…

“Good Pie Crust”

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 egg

1/3 cup cold water

1 tsp. vinegar

1 cup lard or Crisco

Mix dry ingredients with pastry blender.  Add in Crisco.   (Side note:  I hardly ever bake anything with Crisco anymore, so it seems silly to have a big thing of Crisco on hand.  I do, however, LOVE Crisco Baking Sticks.  They come wrapped like butter and are so much easier to measure and add into recipes.) Beat egg; add water and vinegar.  Add egg, water, and vinegar into Crisco and dry ingredients mixture.  Form into a ball.  Let “rest” before making into pies.    This crust recipe will make enough for one 2-crust pie and one 1-crust pie.  For example:  An apple pie and a pumpkin pie.

I don’t really know what tips to give on rolling the dough out.  I usually just cover everything with a lot of flour.  If you are at all worried about making a mess, I think you can roll it out between 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper.  And… I do have to say… Although I usually LOVE my pampered chef utensils, I much prefer our basic rolling pin to their fancy pie rolling pin.

The recipes for fruit pie came from the 1969 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  This might be my favorite cookbook.  When we were little, my sister and I would experiment with all the muffin recipes.  I didn’t think anything of it then, but our mother had to have been so patient to put up with that kind of mess every Saturday morning.

The recipes include amounts for 8, 9, and 10-inch pies.  I made a 10-inch cherry pie and a 9-inch apple pie, so I will probably just include the recipes for those.  If you would like the recipes for other sizes, let me know and I can post them!

10-inch Cherry Pie

1 2/3 cups sugar

½ cup Flour

3 cans (1 pound each) pitted red tart cherries, drained

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Cherry Pie Filling: This might be my favorite color combination.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Stir together sugar and flour; mix with cherries.  Turn into pastry-lined pie pan; sprinkle with almond extraxt and dot with butter.  Cover with top crust which has slits cut in it; seal and flute.  Cover edge with 2- to 3-inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning;  remove foil last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.  Side note:  I usually brush my crust with an egg wash.  Usually I just mix an egg with a little bit of cream or milk.  In the past I’ve done this as a last step, but yesterday Paula brushed her crust before cutting the strips for her lattice crust.  I might try that next time.  I should also note that the last time I made the cherry pie, I was also making an apple and pumpkin pie.  I thought it would be more time efficient to make the fillings for the different pies then roll out the crusts.  By the time I got around to putting the cherry filling in the crust, there was a lot of juice so I had to scoop a lot out.  Next time, I’ll immediately fill the crust and put it in the oven to avoid this dilemma.

9-inch Apple Pie

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup Flour

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Dash salt

6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples (I believe I used Golden Delicious)

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Apple Pie Filling

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Stir together sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt; mix with apples.  Turn into pastry-lined pie pan; dot with butter.  Cover with top crust which has slits cut in it (I chose to do a lattice top); seal and flute.  Cover edge with 2- to 3- inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust.

Thanks to my mom for finding this awesome apron at TJ Maxx!

I’m always sooo bad at knowing what to do on 2-crust pies to seal the crust.  I usually just kind of pinch the two crusts together, but I would appreciate any help on what you do!  I just never thing that part of my pies looks quite polished enough.

I Went and Started a Blog

I finally did the unthinkable and jumped on the Blog Bandwagon.  I know, I know… I’m at least 5 years too late (probably even 10?), but I feel that you all could benefit from my culinary expertise.  [cue eye roll]

Who in the world am I?

I am a (seemingly eternal) college student from Nebraska who loves to cook!

Why in the world did I start this blog?

In addition to all the narcissistic reasons one starts a blog, especially a blog related to their talent (or lack thereof), I think I just wanted to share my experiences in the kitchen with you.  You – of course – being my mom and The Emily’s.  I love trying new recipes and experimenting with old ones.  I also love feedback.  If someone out there has a secret to get pie crusts to roll out perfectly on the first try, I wanna know about it!

What in the world am I going to blog about?

I think I’ll probably just blog about the food I make.  If you’re looking for a serious commentary on the day’s events, you won’t find it here.  Unless, of course, I bake something related to it.  Once I find my coveted donkey and elephant cookie cutter set, we’re all in trouble.  And hello, what could be better during Pride Week (you know, besides equality) than rainbow cupcakes in a cone decorated with Skittles?  Okay, I’m getting carried away now.  There will mainly be easy, cheap, healthy(?) recipes with some mediocre pictures edited to look all hipster-ish with a fancy iPod app.  Actually, scratch that, I pledge to keep my Blog hipster free.  The one exception, of course, is the name.  I’m sorry, guys.  When I came up with the blog idea a little over a year ago, I was going through a huge Iron & Wine phase.  And, I mean, come on.  Such Great Bites… That’s just clever, right?  RIGHT???

How in the world am I such an expert?

Well… Admittedly, I’m not.  I have, however, had the privilege of growing up around many culinary experts (whether they know it, or not).  I can’t think of a family member or close friend who hasn’t taught me some extremely valuable lesson.  I also consider Nigella Lawson, Paula Dean, Ina Garten, and Martha Stewart to be among my very best friends.  So, you know, they give me a lot of personal advice.