Friday, January 1, 2010

USDA Peanut Butter Cookies and King Arthur Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy 2010!   I  hope that every day is a celebration for you.

It's a new year, and also my one year blog anniversary.  Gosh, I've had fun and learned a lot these past twelve months.  Like so many of you, I started out wanting to write a family history of recipes, sharing the old and the new, remembering, staying connected through our food history.

And like so many things, this blog grew to something I never dreamed of, a way to meet new friends who share my love of good food, who express love and creativity in its preparation and and presentation.  Through your writings and your food, I have come to know you and to cherish your visits here and to love visiting you at your place.  And your place could be anywhere on this magnificent globe of ours, the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, Singapore, England, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Portugal.  I wish I could remember who said it and exactly how they said it because it was so eloquent and expressed my feelings so perfectly, so let me say this in my own words:  Come, let me feed you, let's eat together and share the bounty, however humble it may be, that is before us.  Let us be grateful in our own way.  Let us create peace, kitchen to kitchen.

Remembering the past, looking forward to the future,  Something old, something new.  When I decided to make these cookies, I thought about the symbolism in making them together (my English teachers would be so proud of me right now).

Growing up, my father who insisted on being the sole breadwinner, ironically, was not inspired or elevated by work. He expended a lot of imagination creating illness and injury, feeling put upon, and entitled. At this point, my brother Grant and I can laugh about it.  We understand the value of having a really good bad example in our lives.  We learned what not to be, what not to do. To this day, I have to thank him for some of the values I hold dear.  Have a life, have a clue, show up, do good work, accept and offer help when it's needed  Practice self reliance.Believe in God. Keep the best and move forward. I don't remember who said it, but we are greater than the sum total of our experiences.  I think that's because we have the added value of choice.

So what does that have to do with cookies.  Every couple of weeks (or was it every month, I don't recall) my father used to show up at the selectman's office.  There was (is there still?) a program where the county, via a government program,  handed out surplus foods to families that were living at or near the poverty level.  He'd go there (with a hangdog, beleaguered look) and bring home a cardboard box full of powdered milk, pounds of butter, oatmeal, cornmeal, whole wheat flour, canned meats, and tin buckets of peanut butter.

Peanut butter cookies are one of my all time favorites, on equal footing with oatmeal.  As you can see from the recipe, it uses products that could typically be found in a surplus foods box and a simple pantry.  No vanilla, no shortening.  These simple, humble cookies are crumbly, peanut buttery.  Good, but not great.

Makes 4-5 dozen.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
2 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
(little extra white sugar  in a plate or bowl, for decoration)

Mix flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter, white and brown sugars; mix well.  Add the two eggs and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture, and mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Slightly flatten the dough by dipping the tines of a fork into a little sugar and make the traditional criss cross pattern.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Chaya, my blogging friend, of Sweet and Savory Says it All and Chaya's Comfy Cook asked me a while back to bake up a batch of her favorite chocolate chip cookies, a recipe by King Arthur Flour. Impossible to refuse because I trust Chaya's cooking, and plus I own three of the King Arthur cookbooks and share Chaya's enthusiasm for their recipes.

Chocolate is not a favorite of mine so it took me a while to round back to keeping my promise.  Ole Sweetie-Pi, however, loves chocolate, often buying himself candy bars and stashing them away (must be a holdover from childhood because he wouldn't have to worry about me snitching them, grins).  So when I said I was making chocolate chip, he was all big smiles, and as soon as the first batch came out of the oven, and he could eat one without burning his tongue on the hot melting chips, he poured himself a glass of milk and grabbed two off the cooling rack.  His verdict?  These are good!  More big smiles. I broke one in half to try, and these are indeed good!

I found this cookie to be crunchy, crumbly (KAF also describes them as crunchy) not like the "traditional" Tollhouse cookie which I would describe as more chewy (plus to ensure the chewiness factor  I take the Tollhouse cookie out of the oven part way during baking, slap the cookie sheet sharply on the counter or stove to deflate them, a trick I learned from a girlfriend who worked in one of those shopping mall cookie shops).   I think if you love a crunchy chocolate chip cookie, you'll look a long time to find one better than this. 

(The Cookie Companion, King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cup (one stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, the white and brown sugars, vanilla, salt, and vinegar.

Beat in the egg, then the baking soda and flour. Stir in the chips.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets

Bake 12-14 minutes until they're golden brown.  Remove them from the oven and transfer to cooling rack.

So that is my something old, something new.  Keep the good stuff, learn from the past, create a better future, if not for yourself, then for others.

Wishing you a bountiful and blessed 2010, my friends, always, all ways.


  1. My Dearest Katy,

    Happy Blogaversary! You are a wonderful blogger because you are such a wonderful lady. I love how you combine your gift of writing with your gift of cooking and baking.

    You have been a true friend and your wisdom is so awesome. You are so right, we are the sum of our total experiences. Isn't it wonderful how He shows us where to spend our time and how to live - and how not to live. I would rather have just one true friend than a group of others that don't walk the walk, His walk.

    With love and admiration,


  2. Happy blogiversary and happy new year!!!

  3. Congrats on your 1 year!!! Mine's Jan. 20. I don't know about you, but my year has flown by. I always look foward to seeing what you're cooking. Keep the yummy recipes and stories coming. They are much enjoyed :) Your cookies look wonderful. I think my new years resolution will be to not eat peanut butter... that is my biggest weakness!!!

  4. Happy anniversary on your blog and a Happy New year.
    If we choose to..we become stronger in spite of hardships..thanks for sharing Katy!

  5. Delicious cookies ,when i tasted peanut butter cookies for the first time,i didn't like it at all,but now i am addicted to these...Have a wonderful year ahead...

  6. Those are two of my most favorite cookies. I'd rather eat cookies than almost anything. Thanks for your sweet friendship the past few months. I appreciate you and you thoughtful comments.

  7. Katy, Happy anniversary my friend!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences (AND your recipes!) I always feel more enriched after visiting you here. ((hugs))

    The cookies look so good, and I love the stories behind them.

    All the best to you and your family in 2010. xo ~m.

  8. Merry blog-anniversary! I just love your blog, you have so many recipe treasures.... like these wonderful looking cookies! We don't have King Arthur products around here but I've heard a lot about them. Your chocolate chip cookies look yummy though, so plump and golden brown... Mmmm!!!

  9. PS. You cracked me up leaving a 2nd comment for my roasted chicken. I am glad you like it! I think we're all suckers for chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy... it's like having Thankgiving year round, heavenly!

  10. Oh Katy....equally as good as your recipes are your stories which accompany them. I loved your prolouge perfect for the recipe...for the day...the New Year and your anniversary. Happy Annie by the way! You are the dearest of friends and I wish you all the joy that each moment of the year will bring your way!

  11. Katy, this was a wonderful post. I have so enjoyed all your posts this year which reflect your passion for everything food. You grace us with recipes and teach by your actions that our bonds with one another are sustained hrough the simple act of sharing a meal.

    Like you, I am new at blogging. Everyday, I am amazed at the things that I learn and the people I meet-The whole world just opens up.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  12. happy anniversary and what an excellent post for your celebration.

    We are all forged by our memories, but we can certainly choose to cherish even the unchereishable...

    Now, I want to cheat on my new year's diet and have a couple cookies

    Cheers, and great to get to know you!

    Better to come

  13. Katy, what a sweet sweet post! Happy Blogaversary and yes, the things we do learn through blogging are fantastic!

    I love how you write. Everything flows so nicely. And this story you have shared is so sweet so thank you! Here is to another great year and more great friendships!!

    The cookies sound so lovely! I'd love some right now :)

  14. YAY 1 whole year!! You are the sweetest blogger out there. I still smile and think of you when I click on "new post". If it wasnt for you I would still be wondering what in the heck I was doing wrong.

    I love the story that came along with the peanut butter cookies. My mom made these alot..mostly because we were just flat out broke. We lived in a apartment with no furniture. For Thanksgiving we put all the food in a circle and scooted around to fill our plates. I never realised how poor we were until I got older. She always made sure I had homemade cookies and a recipe similar to this was made atleast once a week:)

    You are so wonderful!! I hope you know that.

  15. Happy Blog-anniversary--my how time flies! Thank you for sharing your lovely, interesting thoughts with us.

  16. Great post and Happy Anniversary! Those peanut butter cookies sounds so good. I just bought some King Arthur flour for the first time and am making my first ever loaf of bread. I'll be as surprised as anyone if it turns out. Happy New Year and love your blog.

  17. Oh wow! I love peanut butter cookies!!! I'll have to make a batch of these to share with my friends before I go back to school next week! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I enjoyed this post so much - learning a bit more about you and totally agreeing with your life's philosophy! Happy Blogaversary! I look forward to another year of terrific recipes!

  19. Dear Katy, wish you and your family a very happy new year and also wishing you many more blog anniversaries.
    It's been a pleasure reading your posts and the ease and simplicity with which you write.
    Both the cookies look perfect dear.

  20. Happy New Year and Blogiversary! May this next year be even sweeter.

  21. Happy Blogaversary! May your new year be filled with many joyous days.

  22. Oh, they both look and sound delicious! Happy blogoversary and the Happiest of New Years to you, Katy!! :D

  23. Happy Blogiversary Katie! I'm so glad to have stumbled upon your blog this year! I love you for your very sweet personality, your wisdom and your delicious recipes that you never fail to share with us. You reminded me of my Grandpa. After he retired he would go and get government cheese - these big blocks of velveeta type cheese that made the best mac 'n' cheese. I love your theme of old and new. They both look yummy - I'll take one in each hand. Happy New Year!

  24. Happy Blog Anniversary Katy! You have done a wonderful job building your blog!

    You make me laugh reading about sweetie pie hiding the chocolate. Maybe he just doesn't want you to know he's eating it!

  25. Happy New Year Katy! I'm so glad to have been able to journey through 2009 with you! Your blog is warm and inviting and delicious too!

    Love the cookies! :D

  26. Happy blogaversary and New year too! My mom used to go pick up those "commodities" for old people in our town who couldn't get out, and I was always fascinated by those giant tubs of PB and huge blocks of cheese (sometimes the people would give her some of the cheese cause it was just too much for them, and it was awesome!)

  27. I remember those boxes of free food from when I was a child -- we called them "commodities". Sounds like we had at least this parallel in our childhood! :)
    Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog today and for leaving the sweet comments. I do appreciate it!
    I just discovered your blog a day or two ago and have already made your Butternut Squash Chili; thank you, it was delicious! I used my laptop in the kitchen, so didn't print the recipe; just worked right off the screen. (smiles)

    Blessings to you and your family in 2010,

  28. Happy blog anniversary! These cookies look great.

  29. Happy Blogiversary sweet Katie. Your post today was just delightful; we think a lot alike.

  30. happy bloggiversary Katy! Such an accomplishment! We must have started blogging around the same time...I think there was some kind of psychic connection going on there.

    It's been great getting to know you these past few months. You make some excellent food and are one of the sweetest people out there. Hopefully someday we can even meet in real life!

    These cookies look amazing! I would be happy living on tins and tins of peanut butter. Or peanut butter cookies. Whichever.

  31. Happy 2010 Katy!

    Every one of your wonderful blog post is my favorite and this post was no exception! I love it! What a wonderful story. Congrats on your one year and I look forward to visiting you for another year.

    Love the cookies!


  32. Happy Blogaversary and Happy new Year! This was a delighful post and I remember those goverment ratios. The cheese, the peanut butter, I almost forgot about it, it's been so long ago. I wish you the best in the new year and may God Bless You everyday. Tell 'ol Sweety Pie Happy New Year too! And to enjoy his chocolate. ;)

  33. Happy Blogaversary Sweet Katy! Your blog is amazing! I am so thrilled to have found your blog last summer! I love your writing style and everything about your blog. You're a great lady!

  34. I just found your blog and love the recipes! I hope to try a few of them in the coming weeks. I also have a recipe blog, so I'll be sure to credit you if I try them out. Happy New Year!

  35. Cookies are always welcomed! happy new year and happy blog birthday!

  36. Happy 1 year anniversary to Food for a Hungry Soul! I always enjoy reading your posts. Not only do I look forward to your recipes, but I love your stories and insights and the way you put them into words.

    I'm a sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie, and these look wonderful. Thanks for the "counter-whacking" tip. I'll have to give that a try. : )

  37. Happy Happy Blogaversary to you!! I so love your posts. I look forward to all of them.

    Cookies, 2 of my favorite types on one plate!

  38. Happy New Year, Katy and happy one year anniversary of your wonderful blog. I'm so happy I bumped in to out in the cyber world. Your blog is a constant joy. I love all your stories and pictures. You are definitely an asset to the blog world to be sure. Here's to many more recipes and stories to come in this new decade.

  39. Happy one year anniversary. I always enjoy reading your posts and also your nice comments in my blog. So nice to have you as my friend, Katy.
    Wish you all the best.

  40. A very happy blog anniversary to you Katy.. I have enjoyed reading you posts and all the yummy recipes you post all these months and I sincerely want to thank you for the lovely comments you leave on my blog. Always keep rocking and blogging for years to come :) Its a great treasure to know someone like so nice and kind like you my friend :)

  41. Happy New Year! I love any King Arthur Flour cookie recipe (I made a double chocolate chip mint on of theirs on Christmas!). Thanks for sharing this one!

  42. I love this post. Seems like all of us have a few childhood memories that pop up this time of year (good and not so good). It was nice to see how you've turned yours into something to learn from, and even get a smile out of. I'll bet a lot of us would do well to follow your example!

  43. Happy blogaversary! And Happy Cookie Day! They looks tempting - I can just reach across cybersphere.
    Isn't it interesting what we learn as kids. Some intended and some not. Sometimes I wonder what I taught unintentionally taught my kids......

  44. Happy Blogoversary, and many, many more. I love PB cookies, and KA has the best recipes.

  45. You know - I was talking to a friend yesterday about peanut butter and how it used to come in tin cans that you had to open with a can opener. He said - no, it used to come in glass jars. I had to laugh and say - you didn't grow up poor and getting surplus food! Great post and memory!

  46. Reading what everyone has written to you doesn't leave much new for me, to say to you. Ditto on all those wonderful comments.

    I can't believe you remembered to cookies.

    Thank you for being who you are and for being my friend, and a good friend, indeed.

    I have learned so much from you, in the months that I have known you. It seems like you have been part of my life for years.

  47. Happy 2010, Katy! What a sweet start with all these irresistible cookies. Hopefully, this is a good & blissful year to be. Bless you!
    Best wishes, Kristy

  48. OOOOH those cookies...Now I have to make those LOL...I am so thankful I do not live next door to you, I would be in so much trouble ( more than I already am ) weight wise!!!

  49. Oh how I would love to bite into one of those peanut butter cookies right now. Of course I could always dip my spoon into some peanut butter as a quick fix. Of course it really would not be those cookies. They look fab katy!

  50. Congratulations on your one year blog anniversary! How much time flies by doesn't it. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes the past year, looking forward to more!

  51. Congratulations on your one year anniversary for your blog! Time sure flies by doesn't it. I can't wait to see many more recipes.

  52. Thank's For the Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe Ive been looking for this for years .My Friend said Look Up Surplus Pb cookie recipie and wala there it is Thank You So Much You Are Awesome


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