Monday, November 10, 2014
Long ago, Becky Selengut posed the following question on Twitter: “Which book do you wish you had written?” I responded: East of Eden. I’ve kept a mental list of alternate answers: My Antonia. Gilead. Olive Kitteridge (or anything by Elizabeth Strout). To Kill a Mockingbird.
If someone were to ask me which cookie I wish I had invented I would say, Melissa Clark’s friend Anna’s recipe for Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Sandies. It is the epitome of simplicity; the recipes I love are those I can re-create from memory. And peanut butter has always been my favorite food. These crumbly, salty peanut butter cookies are made with natural peanut butter, whole wheat flour, and raw sugar, so they’re as good for you as a cookie can be.
Yesterday, in the ease of a Sunday afternoon, I made a batch of them. As I scooped peanut butter and measured sugar, I hummed the traditional Scottish hymn I sang an hour beforehand at church with the pipe organ’s accompanying notes tumbling from the front of the sanctuary.
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Sandies
From Cook This Now by Melissa Clark
1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon if you don’t use salted peanut butter)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup natural salted peanut butter
1 cup Demerara or raw sugar (or regular brown sugar, if you can’t get coarse raw sugar)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the peanut butter, and beat in until smooth. Add the sugar; beat well. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, and then slowly add the flour mixture.
Transfer the dough to a large sheet of wax paper. Shape it into a 12-inch-long-log, using the paper around it to help you shape the most uniform log possible. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours and up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F. For added texture and sugar content, roll the logs in more Demerara sugar before slicing, or proceed to slice the dough into ¼ inch-thick-rounds as it is. Transfer the sliced dough to an ungreased baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies until they are lightly colored and semi-firm, about 15 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through baking Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: about 42 cookies