Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Cookies

pbcookieI love peanut butter cookies, something about them feels more special than a chocolate chip cookie.  Just like a sugar cookie tells me it’s Christmas, peanut butter cookies feel like a cold winter night with a warm cup of cocoa.  My mom wasn’t big on cooking dinner, but she did bake.  Cookies were easy, and peanut butter cookies were my dad’s favorite, so they were one that she made once in a while.

I’m not in bakeries often, but when I do get enticed by their heavenly smell and break down and buy them, I’m usually disappointed.  I’m impatient and can never wait to get home, I rarely even make it to the car, before I’m unfolding that waxed bakery bag and taking a big bite of salty peanut butter goodness.  More often than not, they are either too dry, too doughy or too greasy and leave me sorry that I bought them.

There have been very few exceptions, but among my favorite peanut butter cookies are: Mrs. Fields, French’s Bakery (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Orange, CA), and Disneyland.

Lucky for all of us, Debbie Fields shared her recipe for her peanut butter cookies on her blog in 2012.  A bonus for the Gluten-Free crowd, there is no flour in it!

Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Cookies

mfpbcookies1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
coarse salt or sugar, your choice

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large mixing bowl, combine peanut butter and sugar. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, then add vanilla directly to it and stir. Add egg mixture to peanut butter mixture and stir until well combined. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Using the tines of a fork, create a crosshatch pattern, flattening the dough about half the thickness. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a pinch of coarse salt or sugar, depending on your tastes. Bake for 10 minutes, or until barely golden brown around the edges. Makes 30 cookies

HINT:  A good-quality, natural peanut butter adds even richer flavor, but  you may need to add more sugar. Taste dough to determine.

HINT:  Kick these cookies up another notch by dipping cooled cookies in melted semi-sweet chocolate. Allow to cool completely before serving.

I never realized that there was no flour in these, which makes them gluten-free, but also explains why they never taste dry or doughy to me.

Next I’ll see if I can hunt down recipes for my other favorites so I can do an unscientific side by side taste test with my family to see which ones they prefer.

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Cooking and Blogging in a Wrist Brace

cervicalnervesIt is amazing how much of your body is controlled by the nerves in the small part of your spine in your neck.

C5 – controls the Deltoids (the rounded part of the shoulder) and the Biceps (flexion of the elbow and rotation of the forearm);  C6 – controls the muscles that make up the wrist extensors and enable wrist extension and hyper extension and the movements that are tied to the Biceps (front of the upper arm);  C7 – controls the Triceps (muscles in the back of the upper arm that allow the elbow to straighten);  C8 – controls the hands

Either by hauling 40 lb bags of rocks to create a dry riverbed in the backyard, moving heavy plants and outdoor furniture around or moving furniture to clean places the housekeepers have been ignoring for months, I have managed to cause myself indescribable pain and numbness that has persisted for well over a week – thus my blogging absence. Typing puts my wrists in the wrong position and sends shooting pains up my arm & directly across my shoulders to my neck…

buffchikdipI threw a 16th birthday party for my friend’s son this weekend and the honoree requested chocolate cake (which French’s Bakery did a fabulous job on) and Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Who am I to turn a 16 year old boy down?

Only minimum movement was required, I didn’t have to do much stirring or carrying, and it only takes a few minutes to make, so I was able to grant his request!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 2 Large Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2/3 Cup Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing
  • 2/3 – 1 Cup (depending how spicy you like it) Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 – 8 oz Block Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese – Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar or my personal favorite: Aged Gouda
  • 1/4 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese (I am not a fan, this is entirely optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Green Onion (optional but pretty)

Bring enough water to cover your chicken breasts to a boil.  I leave the breasts whole to preserve the moisture and cook them for 20-30 minutes.  When the chicken is done, I remove the breasts to the bowl of my stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer on to low then medium while the chicken shreds.

Put the whole block of cream cheese into the center of an 8 or 9 inch square Pyrex dish.  Pour the dressing and the hot sauce over the top of the cream cheese and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir until well combined.

Add the shredded chicken to the dish and stir until all of the chicken is well coated.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 20-30 minutes (until bubbling along the edges).

Remove from oven and top with the blue cheese crumbles and chopped green onions.

I serve with carrot chips, celery sticks and jicama sticks.  You could also use sturdy crackers (like Triscuit) or French bread chunks.

If it’s not going to be immediately inhaled, you can keep the dip warm in a small crock pot type warmer or, like I do, use your fondue pot to keep it bubbling hot.

To be honest, I forgot to take a picture, so yours (and mine) may come out looking different than the picture I found on the internet, but I’m sure it’ll look great!

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a Facebook page you can visit too https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood