Staff meeting peanut butter cookies
I have somewhat recently found myself part of a group that makes me a bit of a fish out of water.
I'm the communications coordinator for the WorkWell Lawrence group, which is a subgroup of Livewell Lawrence.
I love being a part of this group and they are certainly helping me shape my thinking for wellness initiatives at The Ballard Center, where I work.
This work has made me re-examine simple work practices that I'm sure most of us have taken for granted for, well, ever. Practices like bringing treats to trainings, staffings, meetings, retreats, and the like.
So let me just say this: This recipe is from the BEFORE Workwell Lawrence time. Since then, I've made a point to bring things like trail mix with dried fruit, popcorn, nuts and coconut. And you know what? They didn't hate me for it. At least, not out loud.
But in life BW (before Workwell), I would usually have an hour or two to spare between leaving work and the start of our monthly evening staff meeting, and I'd use that snippet of time to whip up a treat. I felt like the treat needed to say, "Thank you for everything you do, especially giving up this Wednesday evening to come to work again." Now, I feel like the treat should probably say something more like, "I value you so much, I won't give you sugary junk food to put into your body. Here, enjoy a healthy snack while we work."
So, why am I sharing this recipe with you? Well, because it's good. That's why. And because I was able to whip out a couple dozen of these in under an hour, and because at least it's peanut butter and not a spoonful of lard, right?
I'm not saying I'll never make my peanut butter cookies for them again. I'm just saying they won't appear at every meeting from now on.
Peanut butter cookies are simple. The recipes are as varied as Sean Combs' nicknames. I'm sure each has merit but I have a few rules for my own brand of peanut butter cookie.
No 1: brown sugar. You have to use brown sugar in the dough.
No 2: flour. I am not a fan of those three-ingredient versions. It's not a cookie if it doesn't have flour. Maybe that's just me, and maybe I'm just too traditional for these new-fangled cookies, but I need my cookie to crumble a little. If you are gluten-free or wheat intolerant or carb-conscious, this is not the recipe for you. Go nuts with the egg, peanut butter, sugar version. It's just not my thang.
No. 3: good peanut butter. Splurge on the natural stuff. There's no comparison.
The Coveted Staff Meeting Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter, room temp
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white sugar for coating the cookies before you bake
Preheat the oven to 325. You DO NOT want to overbake these. That is ruining everything. They should be soft, underbaked, almost too much so.
Beat together the wet ingredients. Next, add the sugar. Finally, slowly add in the rest of the dry ingredients. If you have time (I usually don't) wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate it for a couple of hours. It really does help. A drier dough makes for a chewier, less fluffy cookie.
Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons and roll it into a ball in your hands, then roll it in sugar. Once you have made all the dough balls, give them the traditional "this is a peanut butter cookie" hash mark with a fork, first one way, then the other.
I have no idea why peanut butter cookies all have that fork mark on the top but I am not one to buck tradition, so I faithfully apply it to all my cookies rather then just smashing them with the bottom of a glass.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until they're starting to brown around the edges. Let them cool for at least 5 minutes before you move them to a serving plate.
They're awesome when they're hot, but they're good later as well.
Tell your staff they're welcome, and that those cookies are now a once-a-year thing instead of once-a-month. They'll reluctantly thank you for it later.