We were sitting at the dinner table, soup in front of us after a long day. A day off school. I had pulled the soup together in minutes while the kids were playing downstairs, just trying to get it simmering before I needed to run out in the snow, braving rush-hour traffic that creeps along exponentially slower the heavier the flakes falling.
That’s when she said it. My six-year-old told me she was sad that I had made dinner without her. Disappointed that I hadn’t included her when she was home, available, and willing.
As a parent, I realize how there are these thin areas in the timeline of our children’s childhood. They are marked by their willingness to do certain activities, and if left alone and ignored, those strips of color where your children are genuinely excited and willing will fade, their color not bleeding over into the length of life yet to live. But if you plant little seeds and care and nurture them, those colors will bloom and brighten.
Today we made peanut butter cookies, my daughter saddled up next to the counter, her favorite apron tied around her waist. She delighted in cracking eggs, in watching the mixer spin, in rolling the dough around in the sugar. And we baked together the way I used to when I was sweet and innocent, sitting on my mom’s counter as we turned ingredients into memories and seeds of life.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Additional granulated sugar for rolling
- For sandwiches: ⅓ cup strawberry jam
- Preheat your oven to 375º F. In a large mixing bowl or mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and both sugars. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla until well mixed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt. Mix in the flour with the peanut butter mixture.
- Roll the dough into 1″ balls, and then roll each ball in the additional granulated sugar to coat. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet, 2″ apart. Gently flatten slightly with a fork or the bottom of a glass.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes until center of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- To make sandwiches: Make the balls slightly smaller, about ¾”, when baking. Warm the jam in a small saucepan on medium heat. Spread warm jam onto the back of cooled cookie, topping with a second. Allow the jam to cook, which will set it.
Do you do something special for your little Valentines?
|Shaina Olmanson is the home cook and photographer behind Food for My Family and the author of Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats that Shine. She is a contributor to Babble.com’s Family Kitchen Blog and the food channel on Lifetime Moms. Shaina can usually be found cooking, at the computer or behind the camera.|