Cookies for kids of all ages
I was a lucky kid, as my grandmother baked every day of my youth. She had five grandchildren and we all went through a period when we stopped, with our best friends, at Grandma's to visit on our way home from school. I'm sure that the cookies or cakes that she baked had nothing to do with her popularity! She was just as sweet as the things that she baked.
She was a great cook and a great observer. She discovered early on that kids had two favorite flavors: chocolate and peanut butter. I haven't polled many kids under 12 on the matter but I would bet my favorite cookie sheet that peanut butter and chocolate cookies still lead the pack.
There are so many variations on every variety of cookies that we could do a column every week just on cookie recipes. Let's face it. Kids aren't the only cookie lovers raiding the cookie jar or freezer. Is there any time of day or night when a cookie wouldn't be in order? In the morning a little sugar in the blood gives energy. At night, a little food in the tummy means sweet dreams. In between, there are ends of meals when the sweet tooth is waiting for its treat. Then, too, coffee or tea breaks need cookies to restore energy. How is that as a rationale for those of us born with a sweet tooth?
Here are three cookie recipes that have the required ingredients to guarantee they will bring smiles: chocolate and peanut butter. In one recipe both ingredients are called for. What could be better than that?
Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
Many, many readers have shared this self-same recipe with us. Its popularity is probably because it is so quick and easy that kids can make themselves. The recipe is also easy to remember. We didn't forget the flour--it isn't called for in this one. Makes about 2 dozen cookies depending upon who is doing the baking.
1 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl mix together all three ingredients. (With a hand mixer it comes together easily.) Rub your palm with sugar and roll a heaping tablespoon of dough to make a ball. Place each ball on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with tines of a fork to make a criss-cross pattern. You can sprinkle with more sugar if you wish. Bake about 10 minutes and cool on a rack. They keep well and freeze well.
Death By Chocolate Cookies
This recipe came out of the test kitchens of Baker's Chocolate some years ago. It uses semi-sweet baking chocolate and a lot of chopped nuts. If you want to you could substitute one cup of chocolate chips for one cup of nuts. Or, you could use miniature marshmallows as part of the nut measure. Or, you could also use M&M's for part of the two cups of nuts called for. Most any kind of nuts will work here.
2 packages (16 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate), divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop 8 squares (1 package) of semi-sweet baking chocolate; set aside. Microwave (or melt in a double-boiler) the remaining 8 squares (the other package) on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Stir in reserved chopped chocolate and nuts. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch. Cool on the cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen large cookies.
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cookies
Two for the price of one--two favorite cookie flavors in one pretty cookie. The base is really a peanut butter cookie and the 2 icings are chocolate and peanut butter. A kid's dream come true but pretty enough for a tea table. Makes 3 dozen cookies.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
Cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or grease 2 cookie sheets. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl: beat until well blended. Beat in milk. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed until well blended. Spoon dough mixture into a pastry bag and pipe 36 mounds onto a prepared baking sheet. Or, use a spoon and a rubber scraper to make whatever size mounds you want. Bake for 11 minutes. Cool 1 minute on pans. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Icing: Combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon cream, and 3 tablespoons peanut butter in a bowl. Spoon mixture into a small zip-top plastic bag or into a pastry bag with a small tip; set aside. Place chips in a glass bowl and microwave until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Add remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons milk, remaining 1 tablespoon cream and cocoa to the melted chocolate, stirring well with a whisk. Spoon chocolate mixture into a small zip-top plastic bag or a pastry bag with small tip.
Starting with the peanut butter mixture, snip a tiny hole in a corner of the bag. Through that hole drizzle icing in a pattern on each cookie. Repeat procedure with the chocolate frosting on each cookie. Play artist and on the top of each cookie pipe out any designs that please you. You can even make pumpkin heads or Christmas bells, or stars or circles or whatever. Let stand 10 minutes or until icing has set.
You don't have to be a master baker to make great cookies.