Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

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I had never eaten a peanut butter cookie until I met Anne’s family — specifically, her grandmother Virginia.  Now, Virginia is kind of famous, and it’s not for her award-winning lemon meringue pie, or for her 400+ Scrabble score on most evenings.  It’s not that she’s enrolled herself in French classes, or that she re-taught herself how to play the piano later in life.  Virginia is a Super Ager.  You can read an article about her here, or watch a video of her here.

But back to the cookies.  Oh, the cookies.  I’m not usually one for crunchy treats (I’m more of a melt-in your-mouth-gooey-cookie kind of gal), but Virginia’s cookies had me singing a different tune.  I scrounged up this recipe in hopes of creating something like Virginia’s delicacies, and this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens could not be easier.  It requires minimal kitchen equipment and average pantry ingredients.

Read on to learn how to make perfect (literally, perfect) peanut butter cookies!

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Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies (via Better Homes & Gardens)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 7-9 minutes for each batch | Yields: 40 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I sifted mine)
  • Additional granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter with either a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.  Beat until combined.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined again.  Beat in the flour, adding a little bit at a time, until an even consistency.

Hand-shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll them in a small bowl of additional granulated sugar.  Place balls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet (ungreased or nonstick).  Using a fork, create criss-cross hatches on the cookies.  Bake for 5 minutes, and then rotate the cookie sheets in the oven for an even bake.  Bake for an addition 3-4 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

Enjoy within 3 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.

From Scissors & Sage

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These cookies are an amazing combination of crunchy and a little bit chewy.  I can already tell they will become a staple this summer — they pair perfectly with homemade vanilla ice cream!  Make them and find out for yourself!

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Valentine’s Card Crafting

If you should know one thing about me, it is that I love a good Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps it’s the sweet treats and baked goods, or perhaps it’s the fond memories of crafting shoebox mailboxes for collecting Valentine’s cards in elementary school.  Or perhaps it’s the many flowers.  Whatever it is, I certainly have a spring in my step come February 14th.  Now, I fully understand that Valentine’s Day is not for everyone (for some unknown reason).  If you are one of those people, it is my hope that I will help you enjoy, or at least tolerate, Valentine’s Day a little bit extra this year.

I recently had a few friends (and fellow creative arts therapy folk) over to my apartment for an afternoon of crafting and relaxing – two things that go very well together.  Our main project of the day was making Valentine’s and birthday cards for loved ones.  I really enjoy making cards for a few reasons.  First, it is a relatively easy crafting project that does not require much prep or clean up.  Second, making homemade cards is way more fun than paying $4.95 for a card at a store.  My trick is to peruse Paper Source every few months and take pictures of cards that I like.  Then I go home and make them myself!

Below are the cards I worked on for Valentine’s Day.  I decided to use the February 2013 issue of Better Homes and Gardens as my envelope material, and then cut colored note paper to match.  (I stopped subscribing to BHG; however, any craft magazine’s February issue would be appropriately themed, regardless of the year).  Here are step-by-step photos of my envelope-making process.  These can be cranked out rapid-fire once you get the hang of it!

Making an envelope:

  1. Choose a preexisting envelope and take it apart at the seams.
  2. Find an image from a magazine or newspaper that fits the unfolded envelope.
  3. Use a marker to draw a line around the unfolded envelope on the page.
  4. Cut around that edge.
  5. Use a bonefold to fold the image into an envelope shape.
  6. Tape the envelope sides shut using double-sided tape.

This heart stamp was created using a wine cork and an Xacto knife.  The key to a successful wine cork stamp is to make sure the design surface is flat.  Otherwise, the entire image will not transfer.  Leave a comment with any questions or suggestions for other crafty card designs.  These only skim the surface!