Daily Archives: January 19, 2008

Boomer’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Boomer recently spent a few days down in DC helping Kate the Great pack up her house for a move; Boomer is very much a homebody, and helping anyone in the final stages of moving is stressful, so we knew she’d be weary and homesick by the time she got back. So we decided to make her some cookies to welcome her back within the comforting walls of stately IPB Manor. I’m not a huge fan of nuts in general, and specifically don’t get the appeal of peanut butter, but for some strange reason or another, I really wanted peanut butter cookies. With M&Ms in them. I opted for Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in her “From My Home To Yours” book, and Pookie and I hunkered down after cranky, busy workdays to get cooking.

We started with a new jar of Skippy peanut butter, and we did what any good children of the ’80s would:

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The peanut butter got beaten with a bunch of softened butter (and I’m sorry I don’t remember the recipe, and am too lazy right now to go look up exact amounts), and when I got a bit on my knuckle when scraping down the bowl, I discovered peanut butter butter is crazy delicious. Intriguing development. We were snacking on some lightly buttered and salted popcorn while baking, and Pookie remarked, “I bet that peanut butter butter would be really good with the popcorn and some chocolate chips.” Even more intriguing. I opened the M&Ms, dipped a few kernels in a bit of peanut butter butter, and slapped an M&M on them. The experience was, as you might imagine, extraordinary.

The cookie dough at this point called for the addition of white and light brown sugars. When everything got fluffy, Pookie remarked, “I bet that would be really good with the popcorn and an M&M.” Done and done; we have invented the world’s newest, most delicious candystuff. Behold — the IPB Ball!

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Cracker Jack, you can suck it.

The cookies were pretty standard from there out, but with each step the dough became more ridiculously delicious. You had your eggs, added one at a time until fluffy, you had your dry ingredients, with a hint of nutmeg, and then you had your M&Ms in place of Dorie’s nasty peanuts (who puts peanuts in peanut butter cookies? That’s just heinous). The recipe then suggested the cookies be scooped into tablespoon balls, rolled in granulated sugar, and then criss-crossed with the tines of a fork.

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I’ve done plenty of criss-crossed peanut butter cookies before, but never rolled in granulated sugar. This was quite the fancy step to add to a normally mundane cookie. They baked up gorgeously, and the sugar added a really delightful, surprising element of sweetness to go with the salty, rich cookies. It was a great night of baking, yielding 10,000 huge cookies and a brand new candy. Furthermore, Boomer was delighted to come home to find this waiting for her:

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Filed under Baked Goods, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie Starts With C

The Fruits Of Maple Hoo Orchard

It is time to confess something here: stately IPB Manor has not been using its real name online. Its real name is Maple Hoo, or, more optimistically (and not a little sarcastically), Maple Hoo Farm and Orchard. We’ve mentioned a few times that we have a somewhat hit-or-miss vegetable garden, and our pride and joy are the 12 heirloom apple trees we planted along the street in our front yard. The Maple Hoo orchard is something about which we’ve planned to be very patient, because all the information about our baby apple trees said that it would be at least three years before we got any fruit from them. So imagine our surprise this past fall when our Rome Beauty presented us with two little apples!

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We were a bit gun-shy with these babies after the way the squirrels ate all 12 fruits from our first crop from our lone peach tree, so we picked them waaaaay early. They were supposed to be, um, really red. As you can see, these weren’t. We’d actually refrained from writing anything about them until now because when we tasted them, they were horribly tart and under-ripe. But we’ve decided it’s worth documenting them today because we just pulled in a totally surprising haul from one of our wee little potted Meyer lemon trees in our sunroom.

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We’ve had these two scraggly little trees for about four years now, and twice a year they put on glorious shows of spectacularly fragrant blossoms, then they develop dozens of little green proto-lemons, and then they drop them all and leave us depressed that we’re lousy lemon farmers. (Okay, that’s not entirely true. We’ve previously grown lemons enough to make madeleines with them.) We’re not terribly attentive to the trees, so this past weekend we were jury-rigging a system to keep Matsui from using their pots as litter boxes (seriously, having pets is great) and lo and behold! There were two lemons. I had no idea they were even growing there. We’re going to use them in cocktails when we get back from New Orleans. I can’t wait.

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Filed under Orchard