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Archive for Monday, July 25, 2011

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The Runner, the Baker, the Wedding Cake Maker: Scratching the surface of a cookie tradition

July 25, 2011

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It’s only recently that I’ve wondered why peanut butter cookies have fork marks on them. I feel like it’s one of those traditions that gets passed down that we don’t always know where they came from. So I turned to the Internet. I Googled it.

According to Mental_Floss, pressing the dough down with a fork ensures that it cooks evenly since it’s a stiff dough. The marks also warn those with peanut allergies that the cookies contain peanut butter. The practice became popular in the 1930s when it appeared in a Pillsbury recipe, according to Wikipedia.

It’s a good thing I did my research. My niece and nephew both asked me why I was pressing the cookies with a fork before I baked them. And I had an answer.

Fork marks are recommended for peanut butter cookies to help the stiff dough cook evenly. It also helps warn those who are allergic to peanut butter.

Fork marks are recommended for peanut butter cookies to help the stiff dough cook evenly. It also helps warn those who are allergic to peanut butter.

My great-grandma’s recipe didn’t have any instructions, but I continued the tradition of the fork marks.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup plus 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter (I added in a little extra after tasting the batter)

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in one bowl.
  2. In another bowl, beat butter until smooth.
  3. Beat sugars into butter until creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs.
  5. Beat in peanut butter.
  6. Beat in dry ingredients.
  7. Scoop batter onto cookie sheet and press down with fork in two directions.
  8. Bake 7 minutes at 375 degrees.

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While, peanut butter cookies are delicious on their own, I decided to try a few different ways of adding a kick of chocolate. Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?

Possible chocolate additions:

  1. Add chocolate chips to the batter.
  2. Cover half of a cookie in melted chocolate.
  3. Add a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to the top of the cookies when you pull them out of the oven.

— Copy editor Nikki Overfelt can be reached at noverfelt@ljworld.com.

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