Today is Dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad! You might have noticed one of the items on my bucket list was to make enough money so Dad can retire. This was a recent addition. It’s not that I never wanted Dad to retire. He has worked hard his entire life and deserves a break one day. I just never really thought he would or even would want to. Always needing something to occupy his time, I feared retirement would bore him, leave him restless. He’d become one of those people who retires and then has nothing to live for, so ceases living. Dad cannot cease living.
Beyond that, Mom and I have our routines. Day in and day out, we do certain things at certain times. We understand each other and don’t have to remind one another that one of us is going to exercise or it’s time to bake. It just happens without words. Dad’s vacations always meant an interruption to that, a change, and I’m not good with change. This is when I become the typical daughter. I can hear myself saying “Daaaaddd” as though still a teenager.
But a funny thing happened over the Christmas vacation. He fit seamlessly into my routine, Mom’s routine. He wasn’t bored or restless. Within a day of his time off commencing, my day was incomplete without Dad as a part of it. Though I no longer have to face the dread of having to go back to school after break, I was dreading the end because Dad had to go back to work.
We talked, he ran errands, we watched movies all together, we were a family. Suddenly I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Dad’s doing just fine back at work, and Mom and I fell back into our old routines. Plus, we always have the weekends. But while I want my dreams to come true for me, I want them to come true for my parents too. I don’t want them to lose sleep worrying about me, how I will fare in life. I don’t want us to have no idea what my future holds. I want them to be proud of me, have a successful daughter, no longer have to worry. And I want Dad to be able to get that permanent break he so deserves and, I’m now convinced, wants.
Instead of envisioning a life where Dad has a new job in a warm climate, I’m envisioning one where I’m a successful writer and blogger, living somewhere warm, the three of us living the life of Christmas vacation on a daily basis. That’s the life I see in my head all day long, that’s the carrot dangling in front of me, that’s the pressure I am putting on this year. So, Dad, Happy Birthday! Enjoy your day! And here’s to hoping things will be a whole lot different when your birthday rolls around again.
Dad also loves peanut butter, so with this recipe comes the conclusion of my week of peanut butter recipes. While I loved the Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies I posted the other day, Momofuku’s Peanut Butter Cookies are one of the best cookies I’ve ever put in my mouth. Of course, anything and everything Momofuku is pretty much the best. The cookies taste almost exactly like the ones direct from Momofuku, which I have mail ordered twice, though they are thinner and not as soft and fudgy around the edges. This could be because I used homemade peanut butter, store bought peanut brittle, and corn syrup instead of glucose, but it could also be because Momofuku’s are just a little better.
The cookies are quite easy to make. Instead of making the peanut brittle in the book, I used some from Zingerman’s that my aunt sent us for Christmas, along with the gelato that I used to make Baked Alaska. The cookies must be chilled for at least two hours. I’m not sure what would happen if this wasn’t done, but I don’t think I want to find out. When they are finally popped in the oven, at a lower temperature and for a shorter time than required by the book, the smell is intoxicating. Between the peanut butter, peanut brittle, sugar, and butter, it will take all of your willpower to not yank open the oven door and eat the cookies baked or not.
The cookies also have to cool completely on the pan or they will fall apart, but trust me, your patience will be rewarded. The resulting cookie is crunchy on the outside, slightly crunchier than I would have liked, but the interior is super soft and moist, tasting just like the dough before being baked. Peanut butter permeates every bite, but it is the ones with jewel like melted brittle and maybe a piece of a peanut that I hoard until the end. Those are the bites that make these cookies irresistible with a deep, complex caramel flavor. I think Dad will be requesting these cookies for every birthday, but then again, who wouldn’t?
Update: I made a second batch of these using bread flour and Skippy peanut butter, as the cookbook recommends and found they were even better. Regardless of which way you make them, these are bound to be the best peanut butter cookies you’ll ever eat!
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used homemade)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- About ¾ cup peanut brittle, 3 large pieces
- Finely chop the peanut brittle using a sharp knife, serrated if you like. The pieces of brittle should be roughly the size of grains of rice.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and corn syrup on medium high for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the peanut butter and mix to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-high for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl again, before continuing to mix on medium-high for 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, less than 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. Continuing on low, add the peanut brittle and mix no longer than 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and briefly mix by hand to make sure there are no ingredients lingering at the bottom of the bowl.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the tops of the cookies with your hand, but keep the cookies themselves tall. Wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
- After the cookies have been chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, 5 per sheet, spaced as far apart as possible. Place any cookies not being baked at the time back in the refrigerator. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until the cookies have puffed, cracked, and spread, but are still incredibly soft to the touch. Be sure to follow all directions exactly or these cookies will not turn out properly.
- Allow cookies to cool complete on pans. They may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.