Every Christmas my daughter and I make Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms, a classic peanut butter cookie with a Hershey kiss placed on top. My mom would make Buckeyes, a sugary peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate. We would always laugh because these are by no means traditional Christmas cookies, but for us, it was all about the peanut butter and chocolate. Always.
This year things are so different. My daughter and I muddled our way through putting the Christmas tree up, something we always used to do with my mom. I was so proud of my daughter the way she strung all the extra lights and fussed over the branches, studying for openings and fixing them, like my mom always did. She even remembered the special way my mom hung the angel, using a ruler to anchor the angel to the tree, and I watched as she stepped back several times to make sure she was straight. We took special care to hang all the ornaments that we had made over the years, the same ones my mom had painstakingly saved, in all the places my mom liked them to be, right at the top of the tree. Front and center.
When we were finished we each went to our rooms and I cried. I was so very thankful for my daughter. She did all the things my mom used to do. All the things I'm not any good at. The things I didn't think I could do on my own. My extremely sassy 16-year-old, who constantly has headphones in her ear, saved Christmas; and, there wasn't a sassy bone in her body while she did it. I was so proud of her and I wanted to tell my mom how Olivia saved Christmas. I wanted to see that smile on my mom's face, the one she reserved for times like these when she was bursting with pride.
I don't know if we have it in us to make the Hershey's Peanut Butter Blossoms or the Buckeyes like my mom always did. If not this year, I know we will next year. But for now, we made something completely different. We made Ina's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were delicious. Who doesn't love a peanut butter cookie with lots and lots of chocolate chips running throughout? Fluffy and chewy and full of chocolate, these were a hit at my house, and they definitely satisfy our peanut butter and chocolate craving. I know my mom would approve!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy Fat Girl Trapped In A Skinny Body
by Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Makes about 4 dozen
1/2 pound butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter*
2-1/2 cups all-purpose
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt*
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips*
Notes: My grocery didn't have extra large eggs so I used two regular large sized eggs with perfect results. You could easily use crunchy peanut butter, but I prefer creamy. These cookies needed a bit more salt and were bordering on needing a touch more granulated sugar. I'd taste your dough and add accordingly. One classic-sized bag of chocolate chips isn't enough. You'll need about one and a half bags.
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer (this is some hefty dough), cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add the peanut butter and the vanilla and mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the batter, mixing only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough on a baking sheet, using either a 1-3/4" ice cream scoop or a rounded tablespoon. Dampen your hands, flatten dough lightly. Bake for exactly 10 minutes (your time may be different). The key is to remove the cookies when they still look slightly wet on top and a little underdone. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.