Monday, May 14, 2012

Award Winning Peanut Butter Apple Cookies and the power of optimism

A Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

I love a good self-indulgent holiday. Unfortunately Mothers' Day isn't that day.  In the first place, not everyone has a mother or even remembers their mother.  Why, I barely recall Mom, except that when  all us puppies got teeth, the bitch had enough.  One day she stood up, shook us all off, and walked away.  And from then on, the bitch growled if we came close.  (I say this after all the outrage over a Time Magazine cover, I'd heard about last week where a four year old child was still nursing.  I've got just one thing to say--teeth, it's a natural stopping point.  Sometimes humans should look to the canine world for a little common sense guidance.)  I digress, but  I'll just say, I was disappointed when I learned Mothers' Day did not mean I'd be receiving some really cool gifts.

I heard mothers now want spa days instead of flowers.  Come on!  "I want this," I want that," It doesn't stop with humans and the stakes are raised every year.  What I want to know is: when is Dog Day? 

At our house, the lady got two big bouquets of flowers this weekend and I learned the flowers came from a donation to help a rescued pit bull who suffered a great deal of nerve damage from brutal mistreatment.  It's a criminal case where the police are searching for this pit bull's previous owners.  The damage done was most likely because this sweet pit bull refused to fight.  

The flowers have a pleasing scent but not one that captures my attention.   You've seen one flower, you've seen them all in my opinion.

"Want to take a picture?" the lady asked, picking up her camera.   I got in position but I was not impressed.

Not until I took a closer look.

There, on the lip of the vase was a delicately perched biscut.  I found it immediately. Mothers' Day was getting to be a lot better than I'd initially expected.   

In difficult times, one must keep the faith that even though you can't see the whole staircase, know you're on the right path and each step takes you a little closer your dreams.

And if you've got a friend to share in your journey, it's so much more special.

We went on a super long walk on Mothers' Day.  It's funny how no matter which way we go, we end up back at home.  Always tethered to the lady (I'm certain it's so she won't get lost) I've mapped out our walking world by the routes we take and no matter how far we go, all paths lead back home.  And a good thing they do, because delicious smells were coming from the hot box in our kitchen yesterday. 

Pillsbury Grand National Contest booklets from the 1950s still offer kitchen inspiration today.
Sometimes the lady thumbs through old recipe booklets.  She mentioned they came from her mother. "Timeless recipes," she calls them.  The scents of butter, cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla are embedded in the pages.  I'll take anything with peanut butter.  Self indulgence could be my middle name.  I'm learning more ways to be human every day.

Management's notes:
If you want less processed than organic sugar, maple syrup migh work but it would make the cookies more crispy and you'd have to add a bit more flour to compensate for the liquid.

We used freshly ground soft white wheat flour from Nash's Organic Produce.  You could also make these cookies with Holmquist hazelnut butter, local butter and eggs.  

Adapted from a recipe by: Mrs Clara B. Walker of La Grande, Oregon
Peanut Butter Apple Cookies
(Makes about 4 dozen cookies)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup softened butter or Earth Balance
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (Florida crystals)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg beaten or 1/4 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple

1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.  Set aside.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar.  Blend in peanut butter and egg or mashed banana.  Cream well.  

3. Add dry ingredients gradually along with vanilla and grated apple.  Mix well to distribute the grated apple.   Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in refrigerator.

4. Preheat oven to 375F.  Using a teaspoon scoop dough into hands and roll into a ball.  Place on a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper).  Flatten with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern.

5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.  (If you have a helpful cooking assistant like mine, save any burned cookies and pass them out as a token of appreciation.)

Got my eye on one that has my name on it.
Focus on what you want and sweet rewards will flow your way.


AndiWinslow said...

Did he eat the cookie? Sounds delish thanks andi

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Funny! He did get that cookie because it was burned on the bottom.