Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back to School with Peanut Butter Cookies

I may be slightly tardy on the whole “back to school” thing (it’s been a few years now since I’ve been “back to school”), but I don’t think it matters how long you have been out of the classroom. When September comes around, the blustery days arrive, and shiny red apples are numerously displayed on every grocery cart, and that feeling of a new start comes rushing back. There is some seriousness to it: as in, what a fun summer, now back to the “real” work. However, what I enjoy is the sensation of change, of starting anew. Of course that comes with the springtime, as well, and a bit more logically, but even still. To me, autumn is another turn in the cycle, and I like to welcome it now with the same traditions that I’ve carried from my grade school days.
Nothing engulfs me with a wave of nostalgia like food does. That’s why it’s around September when I like to pull out the apples, the peanut butter, the oats, the caramel, the macaroni & cheese … all of these foods remind me of the first days returning to school, and I’m pleased that these memories are not ones of terror. Perhaps the food aided as a comfort when returning to a routine after the laziness of summer, but if that’s the case, then it seems even more necessary to utilize their characteristics to help usher in the surprisingly chilly and overcast Fall that we’ve already begun to experience in New York.
So when I found a recipe that combined both peanut butter and oats (two lunchbox cookie staples), I decided to play around with some of the ingredients and came up with the super simple recipe below.

The cookies come out of the oven crisp and flavorful, tasting strongly of peanut butter. The oatmeal gives a unique texture to the cookies, and the wheat bran adds some healthfulness without detracting from the overall taste.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: About 4 dozen


1 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup peanut butter

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup wheat bran

3/4 cup rolled oats

2 tsp.baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar,vanilla, peanut butter and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the flour,bran, oats, and baking soda. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreasedcookie sheet.

3. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

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