I don’t know about where you are, but it is another cold and damp day here in my little corner of the world! I’d like nothing more than to curl up under a thick blanket with a good book and a steaming cup of coffee, but unfortunately, I can’t… I’m at work and there is no recliner in sight! Guess I’ll just have to find another way to warm up…
I think it is a perfect day to bake cookies! Now here at Elegant Edibles, we are well known for our many varieties of homemade cookies. No premade cookie dough from a tube here…we bake from scratch, and those recipes are followed with a generous portion of tender loving care. Remember your childhood days of coming home from school to a glass of milk and a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies? Well just walk in my front door on cookie baking day. You will be transported back to your childhood by the wonderful aroma of cookies baking.
I am always looking for ways to sneak a little “extra-healthy” ingredients into my yummy treats…it helps me feel a little less guilty when I enjoy a cookie rather than a carrot! By adding a just a little bit of whole grain into your favorite recipe you can boost the nutritional value and kick a bit of guilt to the curb. I really enjoy adding ingredients like flax meal and wheat germ or oatmeal to batters and doughs. Just a small amount- say a ¼ cup or so-will add a bit of a hearty, sometimes nutty flavor and a bit of a chewy texture to cookies , muffins and breads. You can also substitute gluten-free (non-wheat) flours in many recipes for added nutritional values.
One of the more popular cookie varieties we bake is peanut butter thumbprints. It is one of those comfort food varieties that just take you home when you close your eyes. The thing about these cookies (as with most any baked good) is the difference in end result which varies according to the baker! You can have 8 different bakers using the exact same recipe and wind up with 8 completely different looking (and tasting) cookies in the end. One of the biggest variables tends to be in the measurement of the ingredients. Measuring with a heavy hand will result in a much different product than if you measure with a light hand. This is the reason that commercial recipes usually list ingredients by weight, rather than traditional cup and spoon measures. Weight offers consistant portioning regardless of who is doing it!
Another variable when baking cookies is the temperature of the ingredients you use. Cold versus room temperature or melted butter will change the final consistency of the dough. If you have to substitute white sugar for brown sugar, the result will be a crisp cookie, rather than a chewier one. Chilling the dough before baking will result in a thicker cookie. Even the time of year can result in differences in your final product! When the weather is cooler and dryer, the dough will stay more firm and when it is hot and humid in the kitchen, the dough will be much softer!
Enough about the science and nutrition of cookies, I’m ready for one! Time to put on a pot of coffee and bake a batch…
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
- ¾ C Butter
- 1 ½ C Peanut Butter
- ¼ C granulated sugar
- ½ C brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla
- ¼ C milk
- 3 C flour
- ¼ C ground flax seed
- 1 t Baking soda
- ½ t salt
- 1 C grape jam
- ¼ C coarse sugar
Cream butter and sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, soda and salt and gradually add alternately with milk into wet ingredients until well blended.
Drop by rounded spoonful onto baking tray. Roll each dough ball in coarse sugar, then make small indentation in center of each cookie and fill with ½ t jam.
Bake for about 12-14 minutes at 375*, cool on rack.
Store in an airtight container.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.