Oh, hi there! Hello…? Yeah, it’s me – the girl who ate a lot of pastries for a month, promised she’d write you twice a week, and then fell off the face of the planet? Whoops. About that. I could blame my absence on the busyness of moving and unpacking…which may seem like a total copout until you I show you this:
(This is only half of my shoe collection aka I am a hoarder.)
Or, I could talk about the agony of transitioning from college to real life (OMG). I’d heard that the experience was “like dying,” but I actually think it’s more like living. I’m referring to the beginning of life, when you’re torn from a warm, safe, nurturing environment where all your needs are met and you’re thrust into a cold, harsh world where all you want to do is cry. But I digress.
How about we just say…it’s not you, it’s me. Totally mea culpa (which I may have just wiki-ed to make certain of the proper usage). Anyhow, I think it’s high time we move on to dessert discussion. Let’s talk mail. There’s bad mail, like junk mail and (ughhh) bills. There’s good mail, like invitations and birthday cards. And then. There is COOKIE MAIL. Yes, I am talking about people sending their love/good wishes/general awesomeness in the form of delectable cookies right to YOUR FRONT DOOR. Sorry for all of the scream-o letters, but I really just wanted to emphasize the fabulousness of this gift. Especially when it is surprise cookie mail. Don’t even get me started.
Or do! Because, living in Dallas, I’ve been brainstorming the best gifts to send to Houston/elsewhere in the world, and I’ve decided that there is nothing quite as exciting or delicious as the gift of cookies. Now, deciding on the type of cookie was a different matter entirely.
An internet search of “best cookies to mail” yielded recommendations of sturdy cookies (think biscotti) and drop cookies (cookies that are dropped onto baking sheets – like chocolate chip cookies). Though I do love my biscotti, I’ve had a hankering for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for oh, about two weeks now, so really, the sturdy cookies didn’t stand a chance.
Unfortunately, a search of my pantry showed that my peanut butter had long since expired. As my dreams of cookie bliss slowly faded before me, though, I happened to spy a can of peanuts – purchased only two weeks before! I used to think that the making of nut butter was something that only professionals embarked upon, but recently, I’ve realized that it is a much simpler story. Food processor + roasted nuts = nut butter.
This goes for peanuts, almonds, even hazelnuts (and you could probably drop some melted chocolate in there too…just saying). Also, if you don’t have a food processor (really, the only reason I have one is because I’m living with my sister, the kitchen goddess), a blender will do in a jiffy.
I added the peanut butter to a slightly adapted version of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (they stay soft for days) and oh…my…goodness. I packed these babies for mailing in an airtight container, put wax paper between each layer, and stuffed some wax paper on the top to keep them whole and delicious.
*Which brings me to some exciting news…I’m hosting my first GIVEAWAY!*
The rules are very simple: One lucky reader who comments on this post will get cookie mail! So, comment away, and cross your fingers! You, too, can receive cookie mail.
Fine print (which is not actually in fine print): The deadline for entries is 11:59pm (CDT) on Saturday, September 22nd. One winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
Soft Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from these Award Winning Cookies)
Yield: About 40 cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter (from the jar or my recipe below)
- 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1 cup semisweet, but I like to mix it up a bit)
- 1 cup peanut butter chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour and baking soda, set aside.
- Cream together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in instant pudding mix until smooth.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla, then blend in flour mixture.
- Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for about 11 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges turn golden brown. Note: The cookies may look (and feel) a bit underdone when they’re first removed, but if the edges are starting to turn brown, they’re done!
Homemade Peanut Butter
Yield: 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups roasted peanuts (you can also buy them unroasted and bake them yourself)
- 1/2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Pinch of salt (if peanuts are unsalted)
- Place peanuts into food processor. Put oil, honey, and salt directly on top of the peanuts.
- Chop peanuts, stopping every minute to check consistency and scrape peanuts down from the side. Final chopping time will depend on the food processor blade and desired consistency of the peanut butter (2 – 4 minutes, or longer if a very smooth texture is desired).