Spectacular, astounding, delightful peanut butter cookies.

On Monday, I had a serious craving for chocolate and peanut butter. I’m talking life-altering, here – if I didn’t fulfill the craving before the end of the day, my son would surely kick his way out of my abdomen and go find some on his own. As ever, I turned to the Internet, and it didn’t fail me. A one-bowl recipe with less than 10 ingredients, less than 10 minutes hands-on time, and less than 15 minutes to cookie heaven? Yes, please. Even better, the recipe has no flour included, though it does have quite a bit of sugar. (You can, in fact, substitute natural sweeteners if you so desire; one commenter used honey with no ill effects other than a shiny cookie.) Depending on your peanut butter’s sugar content, you may want to decrease the sugar just a touch, though it may affect your final product if you go too low. And be sure to mix the “dough” thoroughly – you won’t overmix it, but mixing until “just combined” may not incorporate all of the egg and vanilla.

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The Great Christmas Cookie Bake, 2008.

As of now, I’m embarking on the largest cookie baking spree I’ve ever done at one time (and in this tiny kitchen, too). I have no cash, so it’s hard for me to buy as many presents as I have people I want to give presents to. Instead, there’s a classic fallback – homemade goodies!

Despite the mad rush of people at Wal-Mart and Michael’s, I ventured out into the world and picked up all the things I figured I’d need for goodie-making. I forgot how much fun I could have in Michael’s – and how much stuff they have in that store that I want. I spent a bunch of my paycheck in both stores, but it will totally be worth it.

The majority of my present recipients are from my dojo, American Black Belt Academy. I’ve made a lot of really good friends there since I started taking kama bushi kai with Shihan McElwee. The fun part about making cookies for these folks is that not only will they eat almost anything, but a big favorite in the dojo is a cookie that one of our attendees makes – apparently it has flax, oatmeal, coconut… a big kitchen sink cookie, healthy and delicious. But J won’t give me the recipe, so I’ll have to do my best.

I figured that would be more than enough. Though I’m considering adding espresso snowcaps and some biscotti… but we’ll see how the list so far works out as it is. :)

As for packaging, I bought some plain white boxes, white gift tags, thin red ribbon and red tissue paper. I figured I would divide the cookies among the tissue paper and tie the boxes closed with the ribbon. I have these ceylon green notecards that I’m going to use for personal messages – I adore them, really, very pretty. I bought an eight-pointed star stamp and a tiny stamp of a Chinese coin; I already have a set of twenty Hànzì (Chinese characters) stamps. I figure I can decorate the outside of the boxes with the star in silver and the coin in red, and the inside of the boxes with red Hànzì – not only is red Christmas-y, but also the color of wealth, prosperity and good reputation in feng shui.

Tonight, I’m gonna make up a massive collection of cookie doughs which will then be residing in my fridge for the night. Tomorrow — tomorrow begins the baking, Stage Two of the Great Christmas Cookie Bake, 2008.

Snickerdoodles, a cookie I never really knew.

It’s true – snickerdoodles were never really a family favorite on either side. We were always the chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia (Dad) or a sugar cookie (Mom) type. My poppa (Mom’s dad) liked them, but for some reason, we never really made them.

After making these little beauties, I’m not really sure why we never made them. Buttery, abominably simple sugar cookies, rolled in cinnamon and more sugar, then baked to fragrant crinkly vaguely caramelized deliciousness? What the hell were we thinking?! If I don’t make these again for the sheer hip-widening tasty enjoyment of them, I’ll surely make them again just for the way they make the house smell!

I used the recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies, which I don’t own, but I snitched it from Kristin at Our Kitchen Sink. Look at those puffy crinkly little packages of goodness! Thank you, Kristin, for posting the recipe so I could use it. They turned out perfectly!

(Rest of the entry under the cut…)

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