I have a French pastry cookbook, which I refer to as my baking textbook. It is very informative. I was reading the foreword and it said a pastry chef must be fastidious. I had an inclination of what this meant, and was also sure I was not it. I looked it up to be sure. Yup, I was right. My name was nowhere to be found. But I love to bake! How can this be?!
The Farm and City Cookbook tells a story of a granddaughter asking her grandmother for her cookie recipe. The grandmother tells her the amount of flour depends on how many cookies she wants to make, and the amount of baking soda depends on how old the flour is, and so on. It made me think of a few funny things my mother has taught me.
1. If you curl your hand up (as if you were trying to catch a drop of water in the middle) a teaspoon is the amount it takes to fill the little crevice you’ve created with your palm.
2. A quarter of a teaspoon is what you can pick up with the end of your index finger.
Cookies are a recipe that you don’t have to be too fussy about. My grandmother’s advice is to bake using instinct. As I write this I am thinking about the balance between being calm, relaxed, and casual with being meticulous and delicate in the kitchen.
I am comfortable baking cookies because I’ve been making them since I was a little girl. I like them a certain way, and follow my own steps that I have developed through the years. In a way, I am particular and in a way, I am relaxed because I know they will turn out! I think being a good baker or cook is less about a certain set of qualities and more about your experience and enjoyment!
In the recipe instructions below, I share some of my tips for making yummy cookies. But, practice makes perfect! These cookies are soft and chewy. If you like more of a crumbly, hardy cookie feel free to add more oatmeal and flour :)
peanut butter oatmeal cookies
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup soft butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in bowl.
In another bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in peanut butter and continue beating until blended. Add white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, beating well.
Finally, stir in rolled oats and flour mixture.
Drop dough by level spoonfuls onto a baking sheet with parchment. Flatten with fork.
Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 36 cookies.
*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook
Tips for a light, fluffy batter:
1. Use softened butter. Beat for 1 minute and then add peanut butter and beat for another minute, making a creamy mixture.
2. Add white sugar first and beat for 1 minute. Add brown sugar and beat for another minute. Add vanilla and beat for another minute.
3. Adds eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl and paddle down between additions. Mix for 2-3 minutes. Your batter should be nice and fluffy!
4. After the flour and oat addition, mix just until incorporated.
5. Between batches, keep the dough in the refrigerator.