Whenever I visit my friends at the beach, I bake something with my two young friends who are 6 & 7/8ths and 3 & 11/12ths. (I think it may be why I'm invited back.) One of the favorite (and simplest) recipes that we make is my five ingredient peanut butter cookies. Fortunately for me, my little friends are very helpful. (They clean spilled sugar off the counter by licking their fingers, scooping up the sugar, and licking their fingers again. Who needs a sponge?) They both help with stirring, and then one will roll the dough into little balls while the other makes criss-cross marks to flatten the cookies into their classic shape. All I have to do is supervise. And try to keep the batter in the bowl and not in their mouths.
This past weekend I brought a bag of mini-chocolate chips to change up our usual routine. The minis are great for these PB cookies because they are so tiny they don't get in the way of flattening the dough with a fork. My 6 & 7/8ths year old friend suggested that we make half of the cookies plain and the other half with the chips. So we did. I would suggest that everything tastes better with chocolate but she apparently thought that we should make something for everyone. (I guess.)
By the way, as much as I rant and rave about how impossible it is to cook and bake in the summer, I've discovered that it's not a problem to turn on the oven if you live in a comfortable house with central air. (Yeah, I'm a little late to that party.) Roast a turkey, then braise some short ribs. What's the big deal? Or, if you live in the hot box that I do, make the cookies in your toaster oven. It totally works.
Perfectly Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed (or with a wooden spoon), mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in the the chocolate chips, if using.
2. Roll rounded teaspoons of the dough into balls and place onto baking sheets, about one inch apart. With the tines of a fork, flatten the balls, making a criss-cross pattern.
3. Bake until puffed and lightly golden, about 8 – 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to racks to cool completely. Makes 24 cookies.