Am I the only one who ate a whole lot of PB&J as a kid?

Today is all about PB&J sandwiches. Of the cookie variety, that is.

Last night, Kobe and I made peanut butter and jelly (and chocolate frosting) cookies.

Even though we spend a lot of time together, Kobe and I have found that most of it is spent on computers, cell phones, doing chores, etc. So we’ve instituted date night once a week. It’s a great way for us to disconnect with everything else and reconnect with each other. It’s fun to always have something to look forward to. And, it’s an enjoyable way to break up the monotony of the week.

Last night was date night. But, tired from a long week, we decided to spend a quiet night at home.  It was my turn to plan our “date.”

Needless to say, we baked cookies and played UNO. (Do I know how to throw a party or what?)

As we baked, I taught Kobe some cookie baking fundamentals.

  1. (Almost) Always bring butter, margarine, and eggs to room temperature before adding to dough. Ingredients that are all at the same temperature will come together faster when mixing than ingredients of varying temps. Which leads us to:
  2. Always mix the batters and doughs for baked goods as little as possible. The mixing process results in increased air being worked into the dough. Excess air will mess with the texture and shape of your final product. (In contrast, when baking bread, you knead the dough specifically to add air.)
  3. Chill cookie dough thoroughly (2 hr in fridge or 30 min in freezer) before baking. Chilling the dough prevents cookies from spreading during the baking process.
  4. Baking soda and baking powder are not the same. Both are leavening agents that help baked goods rise by producing carbon dioxide. Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate – it still needs to be mixed with an acidic agent before it can produce carbon dioxide. Baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and an acidic agent (often times cream of tartar). In simple English this means, when a recipe calls for an acidic ingredient (citrus, vinegar, etc.), use baking soda. If a recipe doesn’t call for an acidic agent, use baking powder.

Enough with the lesson plan. Let’s bake cookies.

I can’t even tell you how many peanut butter cookie recipes I’ve tried over the years. With flour. Without flour. Chunky peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter…

You name it I’ve tried it.

I’ve made several batches of these Betty Crocker cookies since finding them last week.

Betty and I never had much of a relationship before. But, now, I’m going to have to invite her to join us on date night more often.