Use the power of cookies to make the world sweeter

  • Deb Lindsey/The Washington PostDorie Greenspan's Peanut Butter Change-Ups have been adapted from a favorite recipe.

    Deb Lindsey/The Washington PostDorie Greenspan's Peanut Butter Change-Ups have been adapted from a favorite recipe.

 
By Dorie Greenspan
Special to The Washington Post
Updated 12/7/2016 9:17 AM

In case you haven't heard me shout it from the rooftops, I have a new book: "Dorie's Cookies"! It's the book I always knew I would write, because I've been a cookie lover almost since the day I was born. I grew up in a family of cookie lovers, and I created a family of cookie lovers. I recently found pictures from our son's first birthday party, and there's the cake with the candle, of course, but there's also the picture of me holding him and smiling as he eats a home-baked cookie. We start 'em young in our family.

Because I worked on the book for about three years, I thought about cookies a lot, as in day and night. I thought about taste and texture and ingredients. I dreamed about cookies, which is how one of my favorites, the Classic Jammer, was born. And I considered the power of cookies.

 

My son, Joshua, whose official bio lists him as Cookie Monster, says that cookies are memories. I believe that, and I believe that all cookie memories are happy memories. My cookie mantra (yep, I've got one) is: Give a cookie. Get joy.

It's too short to include the fact that making cookies is its own kind of joy, but if you're a baker, you already know the pleasures of the craft.

So, I was working away on my book and baking cookies and giving them away as quickly as I was baking them -- because that's what you do with cookies; you bake a batch, you keep some, you share the rest -- and I thought: Cookies are made to be shared. We never bake just one cookie, and we never bake cookies only for ourselves. (Even I, an everyday baker, don't do that.) We always bake cookies in batches, we share what we bake and we make people happy.

Then I had my light bulb moment: We bakers could make the whole world happy if we just continued doing what we do. And it was with this in mind that I launched the #cookiesandkindness project.

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You can get the details on my website, but the idea is simple: Bake cookies. Share cookies. Post what you bake, and share with the hashtag #cookiesandkindness and tag me, @doriegreenspan, if you want me to see what you've done. (I'd love to see what you bake!)

I'm posting a recipe from "Dorie's Cookies" each month on my site and another recipe here for you, my sweet readers.

This month's cookie, Peanut Butter Change-Ups, is a new take on a favorite of mine. Because the cookies are scooped, not pressed (and because I tinkered with the amounts and kinds of sugar), they're shortbreadish on the edges and softer, cakier and, for reasons I can't suss out, somehow more fully peanutty and flavorful in the center than my still-beloved classics.

Take-away tips

• You can use either smooth or chunky peanut butter; my preference is for extra-chunky on the theory that too much of a good thing is just right.

• Make sure to choose a homogeneous peanut butter -- you don't want to see a layer of oil on top of the jar. There are many natural peanut butters that don't separate and many that do, so shop carefully. (I grew up on Skippy, so it's my choice for these cookies.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• I like to use a cookie scoop with a capacity of about 1 tablespoons (a #40 disher) to portion and shape the dough. Cookie scoops give you mounds of dough that are all the same size, so they'll all bake at the same time. If you don't have a scoop, use a spoon and then roll the dough into balls between your palms.

• You can scoop the dough and freeze the mounds for up to 2 months. Take them out of the freezer, put them on a lined baking sheet while you preheat the oven, then bake.

Bake. Share. Post. Repeat. I'll see you on the front lines of the #cookiesandkindness revolution.

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