Posted by: Rachel | April 10, 2011

instant gratification

It is sticky hot in central Texas this week, well into the 90s; really much too hot for mid-April. I’ve been working in my yard; got my basil in and I actually have tomatoes on my cherry tomato plants! Its too hot to simmer anything… I’ve pretty much been getting by on pasta salad. That is not a bad thing, mind you, but still, it makes for a slow food week.

All is not lost, however. A few months ago I got one of those chain recipe emails… you know, “send this to 10 people you know and move up the recipient list”. I figured why not, and (hopefully) without irritating too many of my friends I sent it along and sent a recipe dutifully to the first name on the list.

I received a brief flurry of interesting recipes, 5 or 6, that came in shortly thereafter, and one that surprised me by showing up this week! It seemed perfect but you know me; I can’t leave anything alone! This is an easy recipe, gluten-free, yummy, and here is the original exactly as I received it:

Peanut Butter Cookies Don’t Need Flour

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Mix all ingredients.  Roll into balls and press onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8–10 minutes.  Makes about 24 when you keep them small.

Easy enough, and I only changed it a little (grin). Here’s what I did:

Burning Kumquat Delight Peanut Butter Cookies (take two)

3 cookies on a napkin

quick and easy mmmmm...

1 C peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, I like crunchy)
1/2 C white sugar + 2 T for “rolling” when needed
1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C tiny “mini” chocolate chips

Combine the white sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and peanut butter and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix all ingredients very well. Roll into a log about 1-inch in diameter, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour or up to a week.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Open the plastic wrap and cut off pieces about 1/2-inch thick so you have small discs about 1/2 inch thick by 1-inch across. Roll these in white sugar and lay on the parchment leaving about 2 inches between discs as they will spread. Mash slightly with a fork to make the traditional “crisscross” peanut butter cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack. Mmmm… got milk?

Rolling the unbaked discs in sugar gives the cookies a shiny look when they’re done, and just a little extra crunch. The “instant” part comes from being able to hold the dough for up to a week in the fridge. You can have cookies almost as fast as you can preheat your oven. You don’t have to bake the entire batch at once either; you can make just a few at a time. And, if you have a toaster oven, weeeelllll…. cookies for breakfast works for me!

So, a question: How much can you or do you change a recipe before you call it your own? I’m just curious… mostly because I’m always fiddling with recipes, even ones that I make often. This is not my recipe, and yet it is. I’m happy to cite the source, certainly, and for me part of enjoying good food is remembering where I got a recipe or an idea. What do you think?



  1. You’re a brave woman to turn on the oven when it’s 90 outside.

    I’ve been reading a memoir called “Miriam’s Kitchen” by Elizabeth Ehrlich. Have I told you about this book before? I think you’d really enjoy it.

    • My new(ish) oven doesn’t heat up the house like my old one did. I didn’t bake *anything* from about April 1 to mid-October for about 15 years! Too darn hot… but it makes the house smell so yummy. Always a trade-off, hey?

      I’ve seen the book. I don’t think you mentioned it. I may check it out (of the library I mean (grin)) one of these days.

      At the moment I’m spending some time in Portugal (figuratively, oh well) with Frances Mayes (yes, the Tuscan Sun woman) enjoying her “Year in the World”. Ahhh…

  2. How do you get your basil to grow in Texas? I can never seem to get it to grow in Arkansas.

  3. I got one word for you — containers! (grin) I tried growing it in the ground for a few years and then realized that it was a losing proposition. Now I grow it in plastic planter boxes that I got out of someone’s trash. It seems very happy! And, partial sun only. The sun here in Texas is *way* too strong. I have it under a big tree that filters the light… and I water morning and evening if it needs it. Hope this helps!

  4. I’ve tried containers. Bet I was giving it too much sun. Thanks. The humidity is a bear here, but the sun is pretty strong too.

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