Sunday, April 15, 2007

baking with julia.....uhh i mean, joanna

As the manly men enjoyed their hockey, the women retreated to the kitchen to bake. Many of you know that I cannot bake. I hate it. I have trouble following directions and the results are usually disastrous.
Earlier in the morning, I found a recipe online for peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies that required very little ingredients and only a few steps. I thought it would be a perfect afternoon activity for us girls. Joanna (my sister-in-law) was a trooper. She happily put up with my amateur baking questions with much patience.
One of the difficulties we had was the firmed up brown sugar. When I say firm, I mean rock hard. Imagine trying to chip away at cement -- that is what we were facing. Softening it was a challenge, including a major water spill in the microwave, but eventually it was a consistency that was somewhat workable. By the way, if you ever need to soften brown suger...don't. Just throw it out and start with a fresh bag. There are much better things to waste your time with.
Eventually, the dough was made, but it was very moist. The recipe called for rolling the dough into balls, but since we did not want to have sticky dough on our palms, we decided to spoon them onto the baking sheet. We baked them for 10 minutes, 2 minutes longer than recommended...but then put them back in when we saw that they were still very soft. Finally, in silent defeat, we decided to pull them out and wait to see if they would firm up. If they didn't, we would just have to eat them with spoons...I was not going to let all this work go to waste.
After they cooled, they surprisingly looked normal. They were warm, soft and chewy, not too sweet and perfectly cooked.
It was worth the end result...we had delicious homemade cookies and memories that will last a long time to come.

2cpeanut butter
2clight brown sugar
large eggs
2tspbaking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll (or spoon) into balls, bake for 8-10 minutes.

Variations: Use chunky peanut butter, chocolate chips, or salted roasted peanuts, toffee bits, etc.


Anonymous said...

You should keep some bread in the bag of brown sugar, that keeps the sugar soft, once in awhile change the bread as it will go hard. I usually use the end pieces of the loaves to keep my brown sugar soft.


Annie Ruok said...

I once tried to battle an old container of brown sugar - even a chainsaw couldn't get through it! BTW, for someone who 'cannot bake', that banana bread you posted a few weeks ago looks like it tasted divine! Sounds like u & Jo had fun baking tho - u must have laughed your asses off with all of the mishaps u must have had!