One resolution for 2012: spend quality time with people who are risk-takers in the kitchen. Just not the knife-throwing kind.
For me, that person is my sister. Momo, as she’s affectionately known by my girls, is a brilliant baker, and the rest of us are just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to sample her divine creations.
And clean up after her. Have I mentioned she’s also an F5 tornado blazing through the kitchen?
How brilliant is she? Well, to give you an example, there’s pretty much nothing more perfect than a Peanut Blossom cookie–that peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey’s Kiss. It’s great and you don’t mess with greatness…unless you’re Momo and you get it in your head to swap out the peanut butter for Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.
Do you know about Cookie Butter? I didn’t, until Momo enlightened me. It’s a spread made of speculoos, a type of shortbread cookie that’s a winter holiday treat in parts of Europe, sugars, oils, and other stuff that tastes good but is bad for you.
That this stuff isn’t gluten-free is the least of its sins. Doesn’t matter. With every bite, it moves higher on my list of favorite forbidden foods.
When you open a jar of this Naughty/Nice stuff, you’re hit with the aroma of something faintly gingerbready and warm. It’s delicious on bread, apples, the tip of your finger, you name it. And apparently it’s seasonal, which means I should have blogged this during the holidays, but my fingers were covered in Cookie Butter.
Thanks, Momo, for turning me into the Cookie Butter Monster.
Momo the Cookie Alchemist came up with the idea to replace the peanut butter with Cookie Butter (which shall always be capitalized because it deserves it) in the Peanut Blossom recipe. What I love about baking with Momo is that she doesn’t overthink it. She just goes for it. Where I would have weighed 1 cup of peanut butter and replaced it with the equivalent weight of cookie butter, she just dumped 1 cup of it into the batter.
Let go of your hand-wringing and gut-wrenching inhibitions or get out of her way.
Did I mention that she’s an F5 tornado in the kitchen?
So we went with it. And we’ll never go back.
Cookie Butter Blossoms are soft and chewy and spicy. They have a vaguely snickerdoodley taste.
They make you want to dash to Trader Joe’s after a Zumba class and buy up what’s left of the Cookie Butter…not that I did that. I’m just saying.
We don’t keep our Chistmas decorations up year-round, we don’t listen to Christmas music in July, and we don’t buy any holiday stuff when it first hits the market because those shelves represent consumerism and corporate greed.
Besides, if you wait until three days before the holiday, you can get everything for eighty percent off. Or so.
My point is that I don’t need to have this stuff in my face every day. As a reward, I would like to see Cookie Butter on the store shelves at all times so I can have my face in a jar of Cookie Butter at all times.
Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Blossoms
(basically this Peanut Blossoms recipe by Rosemarie Magee, with Cookie Butter substituted)
1 cup shortening (for Momo, nothing beats a loaf of butter-flavored Crisc0)
1 cup Cookie Butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar (Turbinado sugar would also be nice here)
2 9-ounce bags of milk chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, wrappers removed
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Use a mixer to cream the shortening, Cookie Butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup white sugar until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until thoroughly combined.
3. Sift the floor, baking soda, and salt, and add to the Cookie Butter mixture, blending well.
4. Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough, roll into a ball, and roll in the 1/2 cup of white sugar or Turbinado sugar. Place on cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.
5. Bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie while still hot. Cool on wire racks.