Sometimes, when it really and truly is the very last thing I should be doing – when I’m tired and overwhelmed, when the kitchen sink brims with a day’s worth of dishes, baskets of laundry beckon, and children need help with homework — I turn my back on it all and find refuge in baking a batch of cookies.
That’s exactly what it was like this afternoon when preparations for the school week needed to be underway and a filet of salmon and bag of dried lentils had to be cooked into dinner. But instead, I gathered ingredients to make something sweet and nurturing and totally unnecessary, putting practical tasks aside.
Lucky for my to-do list, this is a four-ingredient cookie that takes less than five minutes to stir into a batter. It’s also just two sheet pans worth, so one go-round in the oven. The cookies were inspired by a recipe in Real Simple that I simplified further by knocking out three ingredients and cutting the batch in half. It could have been pared down to a three-ingredient cookie, only I had to add chocolate (Peanut butter without chocolate? Sacrilege.).
I suppose there could be worse distractions from life’s chores than baking: I could be heavily into online gambling.
Or there could be better ones: I could be writing grants to fund a small charity.
But baking cookies it is. And today, it calmed me, made my kitchen smell heavenly, and resulted in a stack of homemade cookies for school lunches and after school treats.
And now I can get back to the business of getting ready for the week, and turning salmon and lentils into dinner….maybe with a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie for dessert.
FOUR-INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup unsweetened, salted creamy peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheet with parchment paper, silpats, or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, put the peanut butter, brown sugar, and egg. Use a rubber spatula to mash and stir the ingredients into a smooth batter. Add the chocolate, and stir again until evenly distributed.
Pinch up a tablespoon of dough and roll in the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Cover each baking sheet with 12 balls. Press a fork firmly into the dough, first in one direction, and then the opposite direction. If the dough crumbles a bit, just patch it back together.
Bake until the cookies brown slightly and you start to see a hint of a darker rim around the cookie, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air-tight container.
Makes 2 dozen
Inspired by Real Simple magazine’s Peanut Butter Cookies