The holidays are a time when everyone wants things to be a little special. Sparkly lights adorn eaves and trees, children are dressed in velvet and plaid taffeta and brought to the mall to scream and/or pee on Santa’s lap, carolers bring cheer and good will with toasty adult beverages in hand, and the drivers of cars festively decked with antlers and wreaths take a deep breath and resist the urge to commit harakiri on the driver who just stole the last parking space at the mall.
This time of year we put on our fancy pants (preferably ones with elastic waistbands), accept far more social invitations than any sane human should and eat and drink ourselves into a fabulous holiday induced stupor all in the name of the commercial adaptation of an ancient miracle (insert the one that applies to you here). Some people are under the impression that the holidays are the best time to take cooking and baking skills to unprescendented levels. Cupcakes with gold leaf accents, cocktail glasses rimmed with festivially colored sugars dyed with the berries of a rare Himilayan shrubbery, prime rib stuffed with organic garlic and rosemary grown in Antarctica. I am the first to admit I often fall victim to attempting to impress people I’ve never met at my neighbor/coworker/hairdresser’s cocktail party thing, but I generally think that the holidays are a time to back OFF from the intricate, stress inducing foodstuff creation. We all have enough to do and so much to shove in our pie holes that it’s not like most people are going to taste whatever exotic hand-granuled-by-midget-Tibetian-monks salt you put on your foie gras on toast points (which you didn’t even know meant fatty liver goo in November, but you read about it in Martha Stewarts Guide to Impressing Your Friends While Killing Yourself and Going Broke This Holiday Season – on newsstands now).
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this time of year. Stress and hustle and bustle and all, I love it. I love the traditions, my neighborhood’s annual holiday light contest, Christmas Eve services at church, and watching Elf umpteen times on USA. As much as I pretend to hate it, I even relish the child-like joy my father gets from playing Wham’s Last Christmas over and over (and over…and over….and over). So, my gift of the season to you is a vow to only post really easy recipes from now until 2012. Dishes and treats that really can be whipped up in between It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and Oh-Crap-I-Forgot-to-Wrap-Susie’s-Teacher’s-Dog’s-Gift. These peanut butter cookies take 10 minutes to whip up (and about 20 to bake), no sifting of flour, no dry ingredients in one bowl, liquid in the other. Just mix, bake, & consume.
Optional pretzels & toffee pieces
nom nom nom
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
with toffee & pretzels
Adapted from Real Simple December 2011
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup salted pretzel pieces
1 cup chocolate covered toffee pieces
- Heat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, baking soda, and salt until smooth.
- Mix in pretzels and toffee.
- Shape the dough into balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, flatten each ball (best you can with the pretzels and toffee), creating a crisscross pattern.
- Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 10 to 12 minutes (the cookies probably won’t look done. They are. If you leave them in a lot longer, like I did, they’ll be really crunchy. Perfect for eating over ice cream. If that’s what you’re into). Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Happy not so hectic holidays to you and yours!