Sunday, February 6, 2011

Peanut Buttery Love

As a young child, I was allergic to chocolate. Ingesting even a slight amount would lead to wheezing...ingesting an even greater amount could lead to a full-on asthma attack. This devastating allergy allowed for things like Easter baskets full of Skittles and Payday bars (*sigh*), and my mother's willingness to pay for my halloween candy so I could buy a toy that would help ease the pain of a chocolate-less childhood.

By puberty, I had grown out of this allergy and I was happy to see it go. In college, my Gram asked me what cookies I wanted her to send me in a care package, and I was happy to receive Peanut Butter Blossoms. This recipe is known my many names (Kiss Cookies, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, etc.), but our family has known these tasty treats as Peanut Butter Blossoms since I can remember wearing one of my Gram's cobbler aprons and it hanging down to the tops of my shoes. A delightful peanut butter cookie with a Hershey Kiss plopped on top. So simple, so tasty. The cookie bottom is slightly short and the Kiss is slightly dang. 

After my Gram passed away in 2008, one of the things I was the happiest to receive was her recipe box. Looking through the cards of the things that I had remembered tasting and loving as a child, I found the Peanut Butter Blossom card. 

Peanut Butter Blossoms
(this is a double batch, because making less than that would be ridiculous)

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oleo 
1 cup Jif (substitution=death)
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Extra Sugar  

Cream sugars and oleo. Blend in Peanut Butter, vanilla, milk and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients. Shape into 1" balls and Roll in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Take out of the over and quickly press Kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool on wire rack.

These recipes are not for the faint of heart or for the kitchen novice. The directions are sparse and the methods are implied: a sort of family short-hand that makes me feel even closer to my grandmother after her passing.

In mid 2010, I found that my asthma (that has been controlled with medicine and supervision) wasn't fairing so well in the day to day. Not wanting to medicate myself into $90/month pharmacy bills, I thought about my diet...and I realized that chocolate could very well be the culprit. After swearing off of it for a month, my asthma got better and I had to break the news to myself that I was "back off the stuff."

I was devastated to find that I could no longer enjoy the Peanut Butter Blossom with the zest and vigor of my college years, but I knew that I could enjoy the taste sans Kiss. Much like life without my Gram, you learn to cope in ways that still make life sweet. Even so, you're aware that it's just not the same.

That Peanut Butter cookie is awesome, though.
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  1. I'm trying to cut out the sweet stuff, just because I don't need it, but treats like these make it damn hard.