Hibernation: Take Two
April 30, 2008
Are you getting sick of me whining and moaning and pouting about the weather? First, it was the delay of spring. Well, now it’s the retreat of spring. Actually, more like the re-emergence of winter. Seriously, snow flakes were spotted on Monday. And the two days that preceded Monday? The ones when the weather really matters because you wait all week for them? Yes, Saturday and Sunday? Well they were no good. Rain, wind, a chill and nary a sunbeam to be found.
So, we tried to make the best of it. We watched an alarming number of episodes of HBO’s John Adams mini-series. We napped. We even made a fire, for crying out loud. May I remind you that just days ago we were sipping margaritas on our deck? And shortly after that, we were cooling off with refreshing bowls of frozen yogurt. Now we had reverted to a brand of hunkering down not seen since the dog days of January.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
Needless to say, the cold snap got the best of us. I mean, we couldn’t even work up the optimism to walk to one the many sandwich shops within a several block radius for lunch on Saturday. Which was fine and all because we made our second batch of spring farro risotto instead, which simultaneously suited the dreary weather and also reminded us that it was indeed spring. But once our bowls were scraped clean, we realized that no sandwiches meant no cookie. You see, we often split a cookie for what we affectionately call “lunch dessert” on the weekends.
Kevin half-heartedly offered to run out to pick one up. But, I took one peek out the window, which was covered with shivering rain drops, and decided to put my foot down. There would be no cookie run. Instead, we’d be making our own. So it was out of a hibernation impulse (in April…late April) that these cookies were born. I originally planned on making regular, old cookies. And we ate the first couple just that way and they were great, if unspectacular. But after sandwiching a slick of peanut butter frosting (yes, that one … the one that made me weak in the knees back in January) between pairs of the cookies, though, these became really wonderful. Kind of a nutter butter, all grown up (and preservative free). I’ll tell you one thing: they helped us get through a very grey weekend.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup good smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 pound good bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks
Peanut Butter Frosting (recipe here)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, and mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the batter, mixing only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and oats.
Drop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop. Dampen your hands, flatten the dough lightly, then press the tines of a wet fork in both directions. Bake for 10 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone, but will be starting to brown around the edges). Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Slather the bottom of a cookie with 1 teaspoon frosting, top with another cookie and press to seal. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Yield: 18 to 20 sandwich cookies