Sweet Tooth

I have a serious sweet tooth.  Actually, I like sweets so much that I would say I have sweet teeth.  I think I have 4.  Sweet teeth that is.  Not 4 teeth.  I have a lot more than 4 teeth in case you were getting the wrong idea.  However, if I continue to eat so many sweets, my teeth may start to fall out and I may someday have only 4 teeth.  But let’s not think about that.

I have no idea where I got my sweet tooth.  It might have to do with the fact that there are a lot of excellent, and I mean top-notch, bakers in my family.   As you can see, I served as designated bowl-licker as a toddler.  I’ve excelled in this role over the years.

I was often quite involved in the baking process so it was only natural that I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I was very adventurous in trying new sweets, like Papa’s ice cream Popsicle.

My grandparents made the mistake of building cabinets accessible to toddlers.  If you couldn’t find me, I was likely in the cabinet, foraging for cookies.

I sure love me some sweets.  I also, however, really like savory food.  I guess what it boils down to is that I just don’t like bland food.  Can you blame me?

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I once had a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie at a local restaurant in the town I grew up in.

It changed my life forever.

After that day, it became my mission to perfect a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It took many a flop for me to get to where I am today.  I tried several recipes I found online and none was peanut-buttery enough.  So I tinkered with this and that and I think I’ve got a good thing going.   The trick is to put in A LOT of peanut butter.  Shocking, I know.  Also, take the cookies out of the oven before they look done.  I mean it. If you leave them in there until they look done, they will turn into bricks.  And no one likes to eat peanut butter chocolate chip bricks.

If you want to become instantly popular among your younger sister’s high school pals, I would suggest making these cookies.  After I made the cookies for the youngsters the first time, I was hit up for a double batch almost every time they came over.  I nearly broke my mixer once when I received a triple batch request.

There were never any cookies left by the time Eugene’s friends went home.

Here’s how to become instantly popular among your sister’s friends:

Assemble butter, peanut butter, sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips but NOT vanilla extract.  I don’t know what that was doing there.

Ingredients (recap):

1)      1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

2)      ¾ cup of peanut butter

3)      1/3 cup of light brown sugar

4)      2/3 cup of sugar

5)      1 egg

6)      1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

7)      ½ teaspoon baking powder

8)      ½ teaspoon baking soda

9)      ¼ teaspoon salt

10)   1 cup chocolate chips (preferably 60% bittersweet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Measure out the first 4 ingredients and throw them into a mixing bowl.

I would highly recommend spraying your measuring cup with cooking spray to help that peanut butter slide right into the bowl.  Keep a spatula handy in case the peanut butter gets pesky.

Cream the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars until light in color.

Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.  I would have taken a picture but I was stirring.

Drop the dough onto a baking sheet using a large spring-loaded cookie/ice-cream scoop for even cookies.  Press down to flatten the cookies to ¾” thick.  The cookies should be about 3″ in diameter.  If you only have a medium size cookie/ice-cream scoop like the one pictured above, your cookies will be about 2″ in diameter.    Press any straggler dough into the sides of the cookies so they look prettier and more uniform when they come out of the oven.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on your scoop size) or until just barely starting to brown.  The cookies will look underdone.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then serve or finish cooling them on wire rack.

I tidied up the edges of the dough for the cookies on the left and neglected to do so for the batch on the right.  The ones on the left are much more attractive.   However, I over-baked the cookies on the left and the ones on the right were just right.  You really have the watch these suckers.  The MOMENT you see just a hint of brown on the cookies, remove them from the oven to cool IMMEDIATELY.

I mean it.

You’ll thank me.

Y’all eat up,

Sugarlump

Super Sweet Blogging Award

A big ol’ thank you to Texas and Carine over at Texas, a Cat in New York for nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!  You are so sweet to nominate me.  I am very touched.  🙂

1.       Cookies or cake?

I’m big on texture and I love the fluffiness of cake against a nice, rich icing.  But I really like cookies, too.  This is hard.

2.       Chocolate or Vanilla?

CHOCOLATE.  ALL.  DAY.  LONG.

3.       What is your favorite sweet treat?

Rainbow cookies from Roma Bakery in Bluebell, PA.

4.       When do you crave sweet things the most?

At all times.  I have a big, bad sweet tooth.

5.       If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

That’s easy:  sugarlump!

Now, I would like to pass along this award to a baker’s dozen of sweet blogs:

  1. http://catbird365.wordpress.com/
  2. http://observetal.com/
  3. http://aikoyoshida.wordpress.com/
  4. http://kaitlynkirby.com/
  5. http://splashofsomething.com/
  6. http://ramblingsfromjewels.wordpress.com/
  7. http://countrygirllifeonthefarm.com/
  8. http://the-dairy-maid.com/
  9. http://westeastern.me/
  10. http://ninagarden.wordpress.com/
  11. http://homeon129acres.wordpress.com/
  12. http://kathyschronicles.com/
  13. http://crazycowboywife.wordpress.com/

Thank you for sharing your sweetness!

Sweet dreams y’all,

Sugarlump

Packages

I love putting together packages for people, especially when it is not for a special occasion, but rather to say “thank you” or “I’m thinking of you” or “I hope you feel better” or “congratulations” or “happy Tuesday” or “I think you’re alright”.

One of my favorite things to wrap up is food, which is no surprise because I love food.  Mostly I love the eating of it, but I do like to bake and cook as well.

So what better way to combine my passions than to bake something, do some heavy sampling (just for the safety of its recipients, of course), and then wrap it up with some cellophane, a pretty bow and a tag.

I’m also a huge fan of making gift baskets filled with mason jars of soups and such because they exude a homemade vibe, are timeless, very durable and also reusable for years and years.   In summary, they are very pretty and practical (and I’m slightly obsessed).

This morning I baked some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for a “thank you for inviting me to supper” package.  I intended to capture the step-by-step preparation of these lovely things with my camera to include a recipe, but realized as I was adding the last ingredient that I forgot to take pictures.  I will try to do better next time.

Here are the cookies as they cool on the baking sheet for a moment:

And here they are all wrapped up purty-like:

In addition to making the package look nice, I always like to put a little tag or sticker (handwritten for a nice homemade touch) to inform the recipients of what they are about to put in their mouths.  I do this especially when there are controversial ingredients such as peanut butter, nuts, or oatmeal.  I might even add raisins to that list because I can’t tell you how many times I have bitten into a cookie thinking it was chocolate chip (my favorite) and quickly discovered that it was some sort of devilish raisin nonsense (my not favorite).

It is my conviction that cookies shall not contain raisins just as cornbread shall not contain sugar.  Amen.

Now that we have that settled, I will get back to the point.

Even though I love putting together an unexpected package, I do enjoy wrapping up gift boxes for holidays, birthdays and other occasions.  Here’s a gift I wrapped recently for a friend’s birthday:

I found the peacock paper at Homegoods and the ribbon I ordered from the ribbon factory.  While a great paper sets the tone, I think a nice, sharp bow really finishes a beautiful present.  I learned this from my Aunt Anna, who was the queen of gift-wrapping.

My Aunt Anna (we called her “A-Nana” which I will explain in a future post) passed away in early 2011, but she was quite the gift-wrapper.  She always wrapped gifts in beautiful paper with big bows and, for Christmas, she often added a little ornament or accessory to the bow.  These packages were so beautiful that you almost didn’t want to unwrap them.  I said almost.  There was always a thoughtful gift inside, so you had to unwrap it.

To have your wrapping likened to Aunt Anna’s is a big honor and level of distinction in our family.  You have arrived on the wrapping scene if some says your gift-wrapping work looks like “An Aunt Anna Package.”   Over the last few years, a few people have received this praise and we continue this tradition of wrapping excellence in her memory.

I love you and miss you, Aunt Anna.  You were such an elegant lady who did everything with great care.  You are an inspiration to me and I think of you every time I wrap a package.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump