Tuesday, December 18, 2007


When it comes to planning, I don't deal well with little loose frayed ends left flapping in the breeze. I like to keep the list of tasks I have to complete at any given time in a small tumbler in my head, which I then chant silently, all day, until said tasks are done -- "pay Sprint bill, send thank you card, buy shampoo, pay Sprint bill, send thank you card, buy shampoo." All in my head, all under control, I know what I have to do and I'll eventually get it done.

This method has proven ineffective when it comes to the gargantuan monster that is Planning a Wedding. I'm not going to get into it, because this clearly isn't the place and the topic really isn't of interest to anyone but me and the females who will be standing up there with me that day, but holy crap that little tumbler has been replaced by a huge bucket teeming with niggling little annoyances like, "buy light blue ribbon, call the veil store, get a marriage license, make seating charts, and more, and more, and more, and even more, and then maybe elope?" Thanks to Jeff, the Crazy only rears its head once every few weeks or so. Last night she peeked out and poked around for a bit, but we beat her back down. The trick? 30 Rock (obviously) and cookies.

When you're focusing on the steps involved in baking peanut butter cookies, you don't have the chance to obsess (unnecessarily) about whether or not everyone will get to the rehearsal on time or on the fact that you have no idea how to create place cards. The goal is a pile of cookies and that takes careful measuring, mashing, cracking, and beating. You then can take the massive pile of peanut butter dough and roll little packets into smooth spheres. Drop them into a mountain of sugar; toss it around. Carefully place the rounds onto your new silpat mat and press your fork into the top, indenting each with those classic lines.

Baking is like running for me -- a methodical way to get away from myself for an hour, to succumb to a rhythm that I don't use most hours of the day. I finished this batch of cookies last night at around midnight. The Crazy was behind me (for now), and in front of me was a huge pile of peanuty goodness.

This recipe, from the Gluten-Free Girl, is so simple and so fantastic. The cookies taste like solid peanut butter and nothing more. One change, though -- she says to bake them for 10 minutes, but every time I've made these they require about 15-20 minutes to solidify.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

One cup creamy peanut butter
One cup white sugar
One teaspoon baking powder
One egg

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. (As much as I love my KitchenAid, I have found that this is a hand-stirring job). Beat in the baking powder. Add the egg. Mix until it is all well combined.

The dough will be sticky, so be prepared to get your hands messy. Roll some dough into a ball. (How big? That depends on you. I have found, however, that the smaller these cookies are, the better they hold together. Eat two instead of one!) Roll the ball into white sugar. Line a baking sheet, covered in parchment paper, with sugary balls of dough.

Bake in the oven for about ten minutes. You will know the cookies are done when they feel coherent, but still a little soft. Take the tray out of the oven and let the cookies rest for at least five minutes. Afterwards, carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. After ten minutes or so, they will have hardened and be glistening with sugar.


noodle said...

I am back and at your service!!! Give me tasks! Let me make lists! Let your millions of bms go crazy for you.

kimberlyand said...

I completely agree about mindless tasks helping you escape nagging thoughts. I feel the same way about say, decorating a Christmas tree, doing dishes, making jewelry, etc. Keeping my hands busy is rather calming.

P.S. - That middle shot is how the nipple cookies look before they go in the oven, except part way through baking, we mash them down a bit with a hershey kiss in the middle and then bake a little longer. :)