Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I have no words...

OK, I have one for Baker Beth (my baking hero): B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T. Just look at it.

Look. At. It.


Now, Look away. There's something in my eye.

I cannot remember the last time a cookie made me want to eat it, make it, cry over it and frame it. Oh, that's right---Because there was never a time a cookie made me want to do that. 

Until now.

Enjoy the September cookie O' The Month.

This  post from Angelo tugged at my heart. Hard.

So much of our identity is wrapped up in food. As adults, we real in other cultures' cuisines. But as kids? Didn't we crave the status quo? School lunches that looked like the lunches of our peers?

Angelo longed for the "baloney sandwiches on white bread with mustard, mayo and a slice of American cheese." Though he was also aware of the ubiquity of the peanut butter and jelly.

Unfortunately, I can't cookie-fy baloney on white bread with mustard, mayo and a slice of America cheese. (Well, I could, I suppose, but you probably wouldn't want to eat it.)

But peanut butter and jelly?

That's a slam dunk.

Mind you, I didn't want to reinvent a classic.

I simply wanted to hearken back to the lunches that might have been. So I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as cookies. Sandwich cookies. Literally.

For this recipe, cut-out sugar cookies stand in for the white bread, peanut butter on one, jelly on the other, then sandwiched.

Nothing fancy. Nothing new. Just an interpretation of a childhood classic for my friend who, these days. in more than happy with a crusty baguette crowded with feta cheese.


Sugar Cookies
(From Alton Brown, Food Network)

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Beth Note: Peanut butter and jelly is sacred to me. Creamy peanut butter. And grape jelly. Not jam. Jif. Smucker's. White bread. Done. Use strawberry if you must. But please, shield me from that reality.

Further Beth Note: Turns out, it's not easy to come by a cookie cutter shaped like a slice of bread. I found one shaped like The Brandenburg Gate, but a slice of bread posed more of a challenge. Go figure. But came through with flying colors. The cutter is a little work of art. Heavy. Beautiful.  And it came packaged with a little thank-you/sample packet of sprinkles! Good customer service, kids!

Further Further Beth Note: I baked the cookies until set but not browned,because I wanted to achieve a "crust" effect, which I did with regular baking cocoa and a pastry brush. If you'd like to do likewise, tap a brush into a bit of cocoa

(I put some in a small dish), tap off the excess, and lightly brush the sides of the cookies. If you're a sane person, unlike me, you can simply leave the cookies in the oven an extra minute or so and let them get a little golden color all over.


Beth said...

You're my design hero.

I think should get capes.

Beth said...

I think *we* should get capes.

Yes, that'd be a much better idea!

Also a good idea: proofreading.

Angela said...

This is plain awesome!!!

Janelle said...

These are too cute! I'm def going to order the cookie cutter & make a batch. Love the waxed paper & brown paper sack in the photo!!! ;)

angelo said...

So many cape options. Where does one begin?!

Angela, yes--I agree! These are SO awesome. You have to make them.

Janelle, You're going to love them!

Beth said...

Angelo: I seem to remember Tiramisu Man and Espresso Girl ... . Maybe we can borrow their capes.

Angela: If only you knew the baker, who could bake some for you. Oh, wait. You do!

Janelle: Thanks! Me, too! One of my prominent memories of my childhood was waking up to the sound of my mom tearing waxed paper while making our lunches. I thought I just wanted creases in the waxed paper in this shot, but it looked better when I crumpled it up and smoothed it out again. More dimension. And you're going to love the cookie cutter. Mine is beautiful and meticulously made. The welds are perfect. It's even stamped with a mark and the maker's name, like fine china. I love that they take such pride in their work.

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