Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Peanut butter cookies and the Gift of Imagination

When I was about 8 years old, the Easy Bake Oven was a hot item. Not literally, as it was only fueled by a light bulb. But girls my age had them and I knew that. I wanted one. I thought it was very cool that the oven was said to "actually bake" and that it came with mixes ready for the fixing.

However, my parents being of one mind with the Rolling Stones, on at least this occasion, let me know that we can't always get what we want. But if we try, we just might find, we get what we need. What I needed as it turned out was a sturdy wooden toy stove fueled by, as you might have guessed, my imagination. My parents believed in quality and sturdiness. This stove and the matching refrigerator were fine pieces of craftsmanship that withstood many hours of creative playing. They may have survived a Kansas tornado if they had needed to. I cooked and baked just fine without the Easy Bake Oven and although there is still a spark of curiousity about those boxed brownie mixes and how long it took a light bulb to actually bake them to a palatable degree of doneness, I am thankful for the respect my parents had for the the gifts of imagination, simplicity, and good sturdy toys.

These cookies are simple and sturdy. This is the best stick together, just the right amount of crunchiness, will hold together even if dipped in milk, peanut butter cookie I have ever produced.
I baked them in a real oven this time!

As I made them, I gave thanks for the gift of imagination and the ability to really see, when life is pared to the essentials, what may have been there all the time.

1 cup shortening or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Cream shortening and peanut butter together. Add sugar and continue to beat. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Sift flour. Measure and add salt, soda and baking powder. Sift again. Gradually add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Chill dough in refrigerator for several hours.
Shape dough into balls 1 inch in diameter.
Place balls 2 to 3 inches apart of greased baking sheet.
Press flat with a fork.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

This recipe was submitted to the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950) by Mary Brubaker, Sarah H. Gehman, and Mrs. Joseph D. Heatwole.

Wishing you imaginative cooking experiences and strong sturdy appliances,

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