Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

I am in Nashville with nothing to do.  What I mean is, I have no agenda and no plans.  And that was the plan.  To get away and just to enjoy Nashville and Annie and Pete's place.  A respite from cold and chilly Michigan and all the problems that seem so hard sometimes.  Unfortunately that is life and there is no escaping it.  More and more I think it is what I choose to do with it that will determine how it is, but then I so often wish someone would just give me a map of directions for the rest of my life and say, "Have at it".  Doesn't happen that way either.

But I am in Nashville and for two blessed days I have no one to worry about and nothing to do but enjoy it.  I took Lily, the dog out to do her thing.  I read a book I am sure I will recommend to every female over the age of 50 I know, especially those from Michigan.  I walked the road by the Cumberland River and glimpsed what it could have been 200 years ago.  I watched a kickball game last night.  Yup, there is such a thing as a kickball league down here, played intensely and for fun by a variety of young people.  Took me back to the days of my early marriage when I sat on May evenings watching men's fast pitch softball and freezing my ass off.  I did that last night, also.  I went to bed with a pounding headache from lack of caffeine in the form of my usual 4 cup a day coffees.  I awoke after a good night's sleep and a big mug of Joe feeling like I had the best of everything.  Too bad that feeling can't last, but its not the way it is, so deal with it and enjoy the short ride.

I had a hankering for peanut butter cookies.  Don't ask me why.  I love peanut butter but generally alongside it I like a large dollop, (or two), of chocolate.  But for some reason it was peanut butter cookies that stuck with me.  When Annie called me from work I told her I thought I would whip up a batch of cookies.  She said she thought I had everything I would need, and to have at it.  I probably lit on peanut butter cookies because they are so easy and as she said she had all the ingredients.  After a quick search of cabinets I surmised she did indeed have the butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda and salt I would need.  She has a very nice Kitchen Aid mixer that I could handle until I went to plug it in.  Three pronged plug and two pronged outlets.  Peter had lent me a converter for my laptop, so I guessed I could just move that to the outlet and plug in the mixer.  However, an incident with a converter in an old plug yesterday that blew the outlet cover off, sparked a blue flash and scared the bejeesus out of Annie, made me think twice about plugging another large appliance into such a deal.  Checking where the microwave is plugged in I saw it was a 3 pronged outlet, and so I moved the microwave over to another counter and hooked up the mixer.  I can rely on my own ingenuity when need be, especially if cookies are in the offering.  I found the ingredients, measuring spoons, cups, and a rubber spatula.  Making cookies I could do in my sleep, aside from the slight mishap when dumping the flour into the mixed sugars, butter and egg, the cup slipped and a goodly amount went down the side of the mixer and counter.  Oh well, 5 second rule and I just scooped it up by hand and dumped it in the bowl.

Cookies mixed up, beater removed and oven preheated.   Rats!  All set to place the first tray of cookies in the oven and saw the rack was near the broiler top.  Now where is there a hot pad in this place?  Looked all over, nada.  Finally grabbed the dish towel, newly cleaned and folded it to approximate a good hot pad and moved the rack.  Cookies in.  For lack of a clock in her kitchen or an appliance that has the correct time, I grabbed my cell phone and figured 10 minutes would do it.  I started reading my book, then Lily decided she needed to go outside immediately.  Lest she have an accident I didn't want to clean up, I grabbed her lead and attached it to her collar and out we went.  I thought I still had time and I made sure Lily knew this was a business trip only.  Back in under two minutes but I smelled cookies as soon as I walked in.  Rats again!  The cookies were way too brown when I pulled them out and after dislodging them from the pan, I saw most were burnt black on the bottom.  Frugal German that I am there is seldom anything I hate more than having to throw out food, I neglected and allowed to burn.  Especially cookies...

But nothing to do but to throw out half of the first dozen and watch the second more closely.  When I had the second pan ready I took the precaution to move the rack back to where I found it, as that was probably part of the reason the cookies burned on the bottom.  The second batch I watched more carefully and I am happy to report that they turned out perfectly.  Unfortunately there was only dough for 3 more cookies.  I am sure Annie won't worry about the cookies and there fore ingredients that had to be thrown out, but I hate the notion that a seasoned baker like me can still burn cookies.  It points out my fatal flaw.  The need to be in charge and knowledgeable.  But I smile as I am still obviously a "Work" in progress and its kinda nice to know I can always learn...

Now should I tell Annie about the burned cookies?...

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