I know that my family is wondering why they came home yesterday to find me furiously cooking away in the kitchen. Well the furiously cooking is not so odd but it was some of what I was cooking that they found odd. I was baking cookies. Not that cookies are odd, just me baking at any time other than Christmas.
You see for whatever reason I shy away from baking through the year. I am not even a birthday cake kind of girl. I used to be but for some reason through the years baking fell lower and lower on my “To Do’ list, except at Christmas when my kitchen is one big flour explosion and you will find an array of cookies covering every flat surface available.
Now though I have a reason to make goodies aside from the holiday scramble. My daughter Jessi is away at school. She has been gone for a few months now and I know that getting little packages and surprises from home help to make school a bearable experience. She is my baby so we both have a hard time being apart. I think the process of baking the cookies and packing them up to send makes me feel closer and happier too.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cooking spray
- 7 tablespoons strawberry preserves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt, stirring well with a whisk; set aside.
- Place sugars, peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.
- Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 36 balls (about 2 1/2 teaspoons each). Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each dough ball, leaving an indentation. Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans, and cool on a wire rack.
- Place preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 20 seconds, stirring once. Add juice, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon preserves mixture into the center of each cookie.