Wednesday, January 12, 2011

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

04012010 - PB C Chip Cookies 04

Last Tuesday was a pretty uneventful day. I had a meeting that ran late after work, then I went to the grocery store, and then home to relax. The Cowboy had plans to meet up with a friend (who is known in real life as Thunder Dan...I wish I had a cool nickname like that), so I had the evening to myself. Like any productive 27-year-old, I put that time to good use by organizing pictures, filing credit card statements, and cleaning the air filter in my vacuum.

Just kidding. I actually ate buffalo wings, played Super Nintendo, and did nothing productive besides think about putting away my Christmas decorations. (I think that counts.) And it was awesome.

I also had toast and chocolate chips for breakfast that day. It's possible I'm not fit to live on my own.

Anyway, (un)productivity aside, I was asleep on the couch by 9:00 p.m. This was nice. Being awakened by someone pounding loudly on my door at 3:00 a.m., however, was not. It was scary. The couch is only a few feet away from the door, so if I got up, the person outside would be able to see me...and my panic-stricken face. I did not want that. Plus, it seemed logical to me that the person outside chose my apartment because there were lights on (my nearby neighbors are early-to-bed folks and, most likely, were fast asleep at the time). Proximity to the ax murderer, near certainty of premeditation, and my own paralyzing fear kept me frozen on the couch. After a few minutes, the person went away -- on foot, apparently, since neither a car door nor the sounds of an engine could be heard -- but I held my position on the couch for another 30 minutes and then, wide awake, wandered around my bedroom for two hours after that. Not nice at all.

04012010 - PB C Chip Cookies 01

This is the second time something like this has happened to me in the three years that I have lived in this apartment, so I can't help but think a security analysis is in order. I live in safe, affluent area made up primarily of homes and with very few apartments. However, a bus line runs right through the middle of the neighborhood, so there are a fair number of outsiders traipsing through on a regular basis. Knowing this, it seems my options for increasing my security are to move to a secured complex (yuck), get a gun ( thanks), or get a roommate (I'm so picky....). Am I missing any?

I hate apartment and condo complexes. Everything looks so much the same; they're just not me at all. I loath the idea of getting a gun, and I'm not convinced that I would remember to reach for it if I needed it anyway. So now we're down to roommate, an option more complex than it seems. My Type A (+++) personality does not mesh well with most others in tight quarters for long periods of time. Truly, I think the only reason the Cowboy can put up with me is because I cook for him and organize his sock drawer, which he likes. I'm also better at laundry. And cleanliness. Really, though, the only available roommate option is the Cowboy. Mom and Dad -- well, just Dad, really -- are not keen on that idea, but no one seems to have a better one. I really like having my own space, but the Cowboy's is looking awfully safe and secure at the moment. Plus, he said he would pay ALL THE RENT if I did his laundry all the time. Seems like a pretty good deal for me. What do you think? (Factoring in, of course, that I am an adult and can make my own decisions, but rocking the family boat unnecessarily is not of interest to me.)

I'm not quite sure how to tie these cookies into my ax murderer story, other than to say that good cookies make everything seem less bad. Normally I'm a peanut butter cookie purist, no chocolate chips allowed. These cookies are a delicious mix though -- soft, chewy, and even a little sparkly since you dip them in sugar before baking. Win-win in my book.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe via Smitten Kitchen; Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
Yields about 3 dozen? (Apparently I didn't write it down)

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (can use smooth or chunky)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar (regular or superfine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, stir together the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — in a small dish. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 10-12 minutes, taking care not to overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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