Take care when you set out on a pilgrimage. Not all quests are equally worthy.
And so began my day. I typically get up when the house is quiet, make coffee, read a little and check email and Facebook. A woman who I respect and admire tremendously had posted the above as her Facebook status. I tend to post things a bit more trivial, ridiculous, or inane, like the time a cicada flew up my skirt at the bus stop. Without hesitation I flung my skirt over my head and ran around trying to shake it loose much to the consternation of the onlooking Singapore National Servicemen.
I still say they could've helped.
So, this posting of M's got me to thinking about quests that I have had or are currently pursuing in my life. Some will always be an ongoing process, like learning to be a more grace filled woman for instance. Others are silly, like finding the perfect pair of jeans.
Although that too can be life changing.
One culinary quest that eluded me for years was that perfect Peanut Butter Cookie.
Peanut Butter Cookies have typically fallen short of my expectations. They are either dry and crumbly or too crispy/chompy. I wanted a cookie that was soft with just a little bit of chewiness around the edges, not unlike a drop cookie. I tried many different recipes, experimental ingredients, and baking times, all ending up with the same result. A sometimes greasy, shortbread sort of cookie. They weren't terrible by any stretch of the imagination just not what I was longing for.
Then on a most providential day a few years ago I ran across a recipe for a Peanut Butter Cookie made by a local woman who runs a gorgeous Inn and restaurant on nearby Lummi Island. It was featured in Bon Appetit (or maybe it was Gourmet...) What stood out to me was a review that the cookie lacked the distinctive crunch of a traditional Peanut Butter Cookie. Eureka, this must be the cookie I was looking for. It only took the majority of my adulthood to find this cookie and it has since become a mainstay in our house. It is one of the first cookies my daughters learned to bake and I am frequently asked for the recipe.
See, some quests are rewarded quite handsomely.
The Willows Inn Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Britta's Peanut Butter Cookies, The Willows Lummi Island
Makes 3 dozen cookies (depending on how much dough your children eat).
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter softened to room temperature
1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter, use a good quality peanut butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups Peanut Butter Chips (optional)
2 cups Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
In a medium bowl whisk together the first 4 ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl ,with an electric mixer, beat together until well combined and fluffy the butter, peanut butter, sugars, and oil, about 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.
Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour mixture in 3 additions carefully making sure all the flour is incorporated.
Mix in with a wooden spoon the chips if using.
Scoop scant 1/4 cups of the dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until slightly puffed and golden around the edges, about 12-15 minutes. Switch the position of the baking sheets if baking two sheets at a time.