Friday, March 26, 2010

Mountain Comfort Food--Chocolate 'n' Peanut Butter

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

The world is going through mega growing pains and I'm feeling it. A lot. I wish I could give every politician and each person around the world comfort food to get through the chaos and social unrest. Homemade cookies and milk could work. At least we'd have golden silence for a few minutes...
Right now I'm watching Food Network; I've had a superb swim and hot tub (minus tourists); the pups are walked--it was cold outside but they didn't care. It sounds like I'm in a relaxing mode but the weekend promises to be a work-related one as long as "The Great Recession" and soaring health care costs are still in the works.
On the topic of health, I found the perfect recipe in my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate--still reviewed on MSN Health & Fitness homepage. After all, dark chocolate is a good food as is peanut butter (both contain good fat). And chocolate and peanut butter are not only good for you (in moderation) but they are old-time favorites. The other night I watched Parent Trap and the girls both liked eating Oreo cookies dipped in peanut butter. Perhaps that's why I have these two foods on the brain.
What's more, at Lake Tahoe we're still enduring the springtime "hump month" and it's chilly outdoors with NOAA reporting potential snow next week. Baking cookies seems like a comforting thing to do. And yes, the heat is on and the dogs are cuddled up. Baby it's cold outside (again)...It snowed last night but melted by afternoon. Cookie time!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
* * *
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspooon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Marsala Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup Hershey's chocolate chips
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (if desired)
* * *
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. In mixing bowl stir together peanut butter, flour, baking soda, sugar, olive oil, salt, and eggs. Add chocolate chips and peanuts. With moistened hands, roll 1 teaspoon at a time into balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, 12 to 14 minutes. Bake 5 more minutes on sheets; transfer onto cooling rack and cool completely. Serves 30-34.
So, as I, and countless others work or play this weekend, for pre-Easter holiday season, I recommend feel-good dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content), all natural peanut butter, and/or these cookies to give you a bit of pleasure. The world's problems (much like Pandora's Box) will still be there on Monday. But as our mom's told us when we were kids: "This too shall pass."

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