Thursday, March 13, 2008
Florence's Peanut Butter Cookies
For some odd reason, Wednesday afternoon I decided to make my grandmother's recipe for peanut butter cookies. She passed away about 10 years ago but I think about her a lot and I try to talk about her often with my kids. None of my children remember her. Addie was 3 months when Grandma died but even in that short time, there was a special connection between them. We lived in Grandma's basement and after Addie was born, my grandma used to ask my aunt, who was living with her at the time, for her hearing aids "so I can hear the baby cry." In some of my Grandma's last moments, I would lay Addie (who is named after Florence's grandmother Adeline) next to her in the bed. Even in an unconscious state, she seemed to recognize that the baby was there with her.
It has always been my desire that my children would get to know their Great Grandmother through my memories and shared experiences. So I thought by making these cookies, I could give them a "taste" of what my Grandma was. Making the cookies was a very nostalgic experience - of my Grandma and of my childhood. Her recipe is a basic, no-frill recipe
1/2 C shortening
1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
3/4 t baking soda dissolved in a scant 1/3 cup hot water
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 C flour
Cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat in egg. Then add water and baking soda with dry ingredients. Roll the dough into balls and bake at 350-375 until done.
I mixed the dough and set out to roll the balls. Then it came to me - she didn't just roll them into balls - she pressed them flat with the tines of a fork! How could I forget? So I did that (realizing later that she actually pressed them twice in a criss cross pattern).
My kids were expected home from school at any minute and I felt like a mom of times past, waiting for my children, baking cookies to be warm for their snack when they arrived home. They were delighted to walk in the door to the smell of freshly baked homemade cookies. I told them that these were my Grandma Florence's peanut butter cookies! Addie brought me back to reality and joked, "wow- these must be really old!" We all laughed and then I explained how coming home to a snack of milk and cookies used to be pretty typical for most kids - like in the "olden days". Their eyes got wide and they asked me if I could do this all the time. Yeah right!
They really liked the cookies, though. They did turn out really good - soft and simple. Eating them just felt like home and made me miss my Grandma.