Is there anything more familiar and wholesome than a peanut butter cookie? Not to this American girl. I was thinking a lot this morning about my nan. I miss her a lot. We just visited the family in San Antonio over July 4th, but it’s always hard to leave again.
This morning, thinking about Nanny, I was reminded of why I started this blog. So much of what she taught me is poured out on these few webpages. Sadly, she’s at the point now where she hardly cooks for herself anymore, and so she’s forgotten some of the favorite recipes we cooked together. Even stuff I’m not a fan of, like her potato salad. I can make it by heart, even though I never eat it. Her secret? Poppy seeds. But she’d forgotten about that the last time I was home and my sister was making it for a family meal.
While it’s a little heartbreaking, it also reaffirms to me why I should keep writing these recipes down, and sharing them with you. No matter what, there are recipes within a family that should go on. That should have a life beyond the people who made them their own.
Have I reinvented the wheel with these peanut butter cookies? Heck no. You don’t mess with perfection. But this recipe is special to me. It’s found in the pages of the Better Homes and Gardens “New” Cookbook, which has been faithfully published since 1930. The one in my grandmother’s kitchen was published in 1957. It may be falling apart, but it is well loved and well utilized.
Nanny started my cookbook collection, giving me the paperback version of this cookbook. Inside the first page, she wrote, “Dear Am, Thought you might enjoy this cook book. A start for your collection of recipes. Love, Nanny & Gaga”, dated February 5th, 1997 – the day before my 17th birthday. I think Nanny always knew that I would be the messy but good cook, while my sister is the well organized tidy one. While both Chellee and I have improved on the other’s respective talents, we still shine most in what is our element. I really cherish the fact that our grandmother took the time to know the differences between us while loving us equally. No two girls were as blessed for grandparents than Chellee and I – except maybe Maggy and Sharon over at Three Many Cooks.
Today, I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. And I remembered baking them with my Nanny, at the ripe age of 4. I remember her teaching me how to roll the balls in sugar, and how to press them with a fork. And I remember the handslap for trying to grab one before they were cool. The first of many, for sure.
Go make these. And remember your own mom, grandma, aunt or godmother. Whether she taught you how to bake or not, she taught you something that makes you who you are today. Thanks, Nanny. I love ya.
Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 36 cookies
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar OR 1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add 1/2 c. of the flour, the sugars, egg, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. If necessary, cover and chill dough til easy to handle.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. If desired, roll in additional sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten by crisscrossing with the tines of a fork.
Bake in a 375F oven for 7 to 9 minutes or till bottoms are lightly browned. cool cookies on a wire rack. Makes about 36.
Taken from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Bantam Books, 1993.