My son doesn’t eat much of what I bake.
See, he’s a vanilla kid. He loves plain desserts, like sugar cookies. He’ll usually opt for crackers or tortilla chips instead of something sweet. He’s also as blonde and blue-eyed as the day is long, whereas I have extremely dark hair and eyes. So much for dominant genes!
One of the only desserts I make that he’ll eat are peanut butter cookies, the plain kind. No mix-ins allowed. I tried it once with peanut butter cups and he was pretty annoyed. So until he can bake, I’ll keep making the plain cookies. This recipe is pretty old school, and it works great!
Old school is great when it comes to food, but not so great when it comes to aging. As I get older, my body is more prone to failing me unpredictably. Sometimes it’s my lower back, sometimes my hamstrings, sometimes my neck or shoulders. I can be fine one minute and unable to turn my head the next.
From what I understand, these little body fails are all a natural product of three categories I easily fall under: getting older, exercising intensely and frequently, and having arthritis. And with my usual approach, I power through the pain. Movement is a friend. True, exercising with a bum knee can really suck, but the extra blood flow loosens everything up and at the end of an hour of movement, I feel better.
The phrase “use it or lose it” might be cliche, but it’s true of just about everything. If you don’t eat those veggies in the fridge at their peak (or cook them one they’re no longer fresh), they just turn to slime. If you don’t use your brain and challenge yourself intellectually day after day, you start worrying about inconsequential nothings and become unhealthily obsessed with minutiae. And if you don’t let your body move consistently, especially if you suffer from pain, it’ll just get harder and harder to be active.
In other words, to quote the great Dylan Thomas, “Rage against the dying of the light.” We’re all getting older, and while we can’t change the inevitable outcome, we can sure make it the best possible journey. Giving up is for the birds. Making yourself proud? That matters.
Making my kids happy also matters, which is why these peanut butter cookies exist. Oh, who am I kidding? I ate my fair share. They came with me to school every day for my lunches to hang out with my PB & J. Peanut butter all around!
These cookies are soft in the middle but firmer at the edges, like every good cookie should be. They don’t puff up as much as some of the other peanut butter cookie recipes I like to make, but that’s because old school cookies don’t do that. So let’s keep it real, yo.
While my son and I don’t seemingly have a lot in common on the surface, we share a love of peanut butter cookies. We also love being on time (or even early) for everything, we love music (both playing and listening), and we are into working hard for good results. Yep, he’s eight with a work ethic.
Anything worthwhile is worth striving for. It might not be easy, but that can make the end result that much sweeter. Fight for your right to party and eat cookies, but also fight for your own best self. You won’t be sorry!
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 and 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg, butter, peanut butter, vanilla, brown sugar and milk until creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator, covered, and chill for at least two hours. I prefer to chill my cookies overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and let it warm up for about 10 minutes on the counter. Roll the peanut butter cookie dough into balls and place each one on the prepared cookie sheet. Press a fork gently into each one, creating the traditional pattern. The cookies will flatten slightly, but not much.
- Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes: no longer. They might not look done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely. Remove to a plate when cool.
- Store in an airtight container.