I love reading food blogs, as is evidenced by the lengthy list on the right sidebar. One of my favorites to comb through is Anna Ginsberg’s Cookie Madness. Some months ago, Anna posted the recipe for the Get Well Soon cookies she had created for a sick friend and I immediately bookmarked it for future use. I made them today for L.’s book group gathering and have taken the liberty of rechristening them (just for today) “peanut butter lovers’ cookies,” because (hopefully) none of the kids present are sick. These soft molasses-tinged peanut butter cookies, with chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Dove Dark Chocolate and Reese’s Pieces, are quite addictive. P., who is not normally a big peanut butter cookie kind of guy, couldn’t stop eating them.
Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of very dedicated baking bloggers who, once a week, select, prepare and post a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. Although I own the book and I’ve often considered participating, I haven’t yet, I think mostly because I’m frightened what weekly goodies will do to my waistline. So today, I thought I would have my own day with Dorie. I baked her Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters (page 73 for those who wish to follow along).
Maybe it’s because I’ve been so (relatively) good in the past week, but the combination of oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate came to me several days ago and just sounded so appealing. I proceeded to google cookie recipes with that combo only to discover that I already had such a recipe in my own house! I actually halved Dorie’s version since I wanted to continue being (relatively) good, and opted to use creamy peanut butter (it’s what I had in the house) and semisweet chocolate chunks (ditto) instead of bittersweet chocolate. The house smells amazing — baking brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon and chocolate — and (mmmmmmm) the cookies are even more amazing.
A lot of people prepare family favorites during the holidays, as a tradition, or even just as a way to connect with loved ones. I don’t have much in my holiday baking repetoire that fits that category. Living in Bangkok with my mother, we weren’t really in the practice of baking holiday goodies at Christmastime. And when I was with my father in the States, holiday baking was just not one of his traditions.
When I was a teenager, my father was married to a woman who loved all things peanut butter. At holiday time she’d make peanut brittle (and a few different kinds of fudges), but throughout the year she’d make this concoction called Scotcheroos. I actually thought she’d invented it, although I’ve since learned that it was actually a popular recipe. For potlucks she’d make the complete version of the recipe with the melted chocolate and butterscotch chips on top, but much more often she’d make an everyday version — just the peanut butter-cereal base — for a treat, or a snack, or even a pick-me-up after a bad day. Most often she’d make it with Wheaties, and on a really bad day, she’d eat it warm out of the bowl.
I always make my Scotcheroos with the melted chips — my teenage son demands it — and I use Rice Krispies rather than Wheaties. I haven’t lived with my stepmother in almost 25 years, but every time I make Scotcheroos I always think of her.
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup light corn syrup
6 cups Rice Krispies (or Wheaties)
Cook sugar and corn syrup in a large pot until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter; stir until smooth. Add the cereal and mix until all the cereal is coated. Press into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Let harden. Melt butterscotch and chocolate chips together over hot water (or melt in microwave in glass bowl). Spread the melted chocolate/butterscotch chips over the cereal mixture. Cut into bars after top is firm.