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Puffy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  Sometimes, when I'm feeling confused, crushing on someone, or dealing with a heavy case of premature senioritis, I need to fall back on something.  I need to sit down, and if there's a mirror involved, really look myself in the eye.  I give myself a good talking to.  And, depending on which of the three scenarios I'm dealing with, find someone to give me a few sound kicks.

  Answer to scenario number 1: Get a grip, stop over-thinking, and read a non-conflicting book.  It'll all come when it's good and ready.

  Scenario number 2: Really?

  Scenario number 3: Bike like a maniac, mow the lawn, weed the garden, count how many times you can circle your property, don't think about your ACT score, buy a new dress, type random words into your favorite blogs' search bars, make cookies.  Some of these may also be used for scenario number 2 remedies.

  These past few days have felt like a combination of all three.  Annoying, right?  Funny thing is, I'm pretty happy.  I'm not moody, I'm just ambitious.  I want to do something.  I want to bike 20 miles, cut my hair, go to college for the heck of it, make massive amounts of food, dress up pretty and go on a fricken date, deal with break ups, make new friends, try to forget those who have forgotten me, spend a stupid amount of money on clothes, take ballroom dance classes, fly in a plane, see other countries, take pretty pictures, make mistakes and learn from them, throw a party, go on a roadtrip, get as close to a firework as possible, go stargazing with a male ...you name it.  It's all in my head, screaming.  And listening to this song repeatedly probably isn't helping. 

  I'm just so ready to be.

  Somehow I have to combine the three remedies, and find a happy balance.  Step number one: cookies.

  Cookies are such a relaxing, methodical thing.  This recipe in particular caught my eye.  Now, I love my mother's bright red stand mixer, but sometimes it's nice to just pull out a couple of bowls, a whisk, and rubber spatula.  There's a sweet simplicity in it that I just can't resist.  This is how it was first done.  No electricity, just a pair of powerful arms, some utensils, and a bowl.

  With cookies, you add, mix, beat, combine, fold, whatever.  It's all you, you've got the control.  You can make each ball of dough just the same, or a little different.  You can sift the flour, add more salt, throw in extra peanut butter, underbake, eat half the dough, it doesn't matter!  The results may not always be perfect, but it's in your hands.  You make the choices.

  However, when all is mixed, baked, and cooled, your self control may fall out of your hands when you taste just one of these puffy, chewy cookies.  But that's an entirely different story.

Puffy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 18 cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (If desired, you can use salted butter; just be sure to omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt listed above.)
  • 6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Add melted and cooled butter and peanut butter to a microwave safe bowl, and heat until melted together. Let cool completely.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled butter/peanut butter mixture, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients, using your hands to knead together towards the end, if necessary, taking care not to over-mix. (It will look crumbly at first, but it will come together.) If it's really not coming together (you should be able to squeeze some dough into a clump, like Play-Doh), add 1-2 teaspoons of milk.  Fold in chocolate chips. 

Shape the dough into golf ball-sized spheres, and place on a prepared baking sheet, two inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown and just starting to firm, but the centers are still very soft and puffy.  Do not over bake.   Allow to rest on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sources: adapted from How Sweet It Is