R.I.P – My Big Dog

I am not sure this will ever get easier, but I do miss my big dog. I want another GSD, but I just do not think he will ever measure up to my Duke.

Duke was a strange combination of total laid-back dog and guard dog depending on the circumstance. I miss him every single day. And I will get another GSD – sooner rather than later.

He loved peanut butter, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes, any other kind of cheese, boiled eggs, ham, chicken, chicken water (what you boil the chicken in), turkey, more peanut butter and more sweet potatoes. So spoiled. But that is my job.

To my big boy – My Duke, big dog, puke (sorry, it was a nickname), brown, the best boy ever. And my very best guard dog.

Every single day I miss you.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 

The Boy asked for these and I always try to make things that make him happy. So I made these for Easter. It is a peanut butter cookie that I had never tried, but instead of peanut butter chips, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips because that is what the Boy requested.

It is an odd thing. I love peanut butter – peanut butter and apple jelly sandwiches, peanut butter toast, peanut butter in my oatmeal – with raisins if possible – but I am not a huge peanut butter cookie fan. I think it is because so many of them have a dry, sandy texture. I also do not like peanut butter mixed with chocolate. As I have said over and over, I am not a chocolate person and there are only a couple of things I like mixed with my chocolate – caramel, toffee, or nuts – or some combination of the three. No peanut butter, no coconut, certainly not orange, oh dear lord, please no mint, blech. I know, I am seriously fussy – about just about everything.

Anyway, back to peanut butter – this is a recipe I’ve had for years and have never tried so this gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. This is … wait for it … a Gwyneth Paltrow recipe that I have modified, but I will qualify that by saying it is a recipe from her maternal grandmother that her grandfather loved. Family recipes are the vast majority of the time a very good thing. So I tried this – it’s easy to put together with things that I had on hand which to me is a huge bonus. If you compare it to the original, I did make a few changes (I only use light brown sugar for instance) and swapped out the peanut butter chips for semi-sweet chocolate chips, per the Boy’s request.D&D_1841

I have learned over the years that if you taste the raw dough you will get a good sense of what the cookie will taste like and I thought this worked out well. I also made a test cookie with no chocolate chips just to try it as a straight up peanut butter cookie. It worked well. That said, it is a soft cookie, so it is best to let it cool completely before moving it about too much.

Hood approved of, and ate half of, the plain peanut butter cookie – think there might be some dog treats with this in the future.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter **
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sanding sugar for the top (optional)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together dry ingredients over a piece of waxed paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture a little at a time. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop (disher), place cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if your going for that thing (nice crunch). Bake about 10 minutes rotating pans half way through baking. Let rest on baking pan for at least 4 minutes then move to cooking rack to cool completely

* I always use unbleached, just a habit.

** I am a Jif PB person.

Source:  Modified from Epicurious

Butter usage – by month – April 2016

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars – yep

2 April –  8 Tbs – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (for Heather)

9 April – 8 Tbs – Salted Crispy Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

11 April – 2 Tbs – Everyday Orzo (once again amazing!)

13 April – 8 Tbs – Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

16 April – 12 Tbs – Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze – don’t do this

17 April – 7 Tbs – Italian Cream Cake

21 April – 8 Tbs – Lemon Ricotta Cookies – don’t do that either, do this

28 April – 12 Tbs – Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

30 April – 5 Tbs – Mac and Cheese My Mom’s recipe, as such which I will say again – just do it. Really. Not kidding.

30 April – 8 Tbs – Brown Sugar Pecan Scones

78 Tbs = 9.75 sticks = 39 ozs = 2.4375 pounds

Not great, but not a ringing endorsement either. And from what I can gather my May does not start out any better. Crap.

 

Egg Usage – by month – April 2016

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M & M Cookies – the Spring Edition

2 April – 1 Egg – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

2 April – 2 Eggs – M & M Cookies, Spring Edition

9 April – 1 Egg – Salted Crispy Butterscotch Pecan Cookies (These are just amazingness it self – so far these are favorite of all the people I take cookies to).

13 April – 1 Egg – Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Bars

16 April – 4 Eggs – Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze – don’t do this.

17 April – 4 Eggs – Italian Cream Cake

21 April – 2 Eggs – Lemon Ricotta Cookies – do not do this either. But do this  – Yes This. 

28 April – 2 Eggs – Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

 

2015 Butter Usage (by Month – August)

1 August 2015 – 3 Tbs – Peanut Butter Fudge
1 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Peanut Butter Cookies

6 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Everyday Orzo
6 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Rutabega

7 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Peanut Butter Fudge – AB

14 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Peach Cobbler

15 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Blueberry Cookies

19 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Peach Clafoutis

20 August 2015 – 2 Tbs – Gruyere Orzo (again)

22 August 2015 – 3 Tbs – Rice Krispy Treats
22 August 2015 – 8 Tbs – Gruyere Crackers
22 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Lemon Sour Cream Cookies

28 August 2015 – 16 Tbs – Peanut Butter Fudge  – AB

Total 102 Tbs = 12.75 sticks = 3.1875 pounds

Finally, a respectable number. Damn Skippy!!

Peanut Butter Fudge – AB

So I made my friend Amy’s peanut butter fudge that was her Grandmother’s recipe a couple of weeks ago. It was good, but I saw this recipe from Alton Brown which seemed easier and needed (gasp!) no candy thermometer and only used the microwave. Nice for the summer, if you ask me.

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Peanut Butter Fudge – Alton Brown

I had taken Amy’s first batch to split between work friends and other friends, but had had a request for it again which gave me the perfect opportunity to try AB’s version. I trust AB implicitly. I used his roasted turkey recipe for the first time I ever made the whole Thanksgiving dinner – that is how much I trust him.

Because it is still scorching hot here – it is only early September after all, basically, still friggin’ summer – I stored this in the fridge, but it can be left out at room temperature, I was being cautious.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Alton Brown

8 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes on high. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes. (Use caution when removing this mixture from the microwave, it will be very hot.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. The mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen. Spread into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes: I really like the texture of this fudge. It was very creamy. It went over very well, especially with The Boy. That always makes me happy. It is funny neither he or I like “real” fudge, but we both like this. One warning: it is sweet enough to make your teeth hurt. Small price for great flavor and texture. Just make the pieces really small. That helps.

Recipes – making them my own

I like trying recipes and finding favorites that I make over and over again. And I almost always make some adjustments. I cannot help myself. I guess the only recipes I do not change too much are my mom’s recipes and a few other family recipes.

Some recipes I change so much that I claim them as mine. I think that is fair, in the grand scheme of thing.

I think now it is time to start making my own recipes. So I am going to start with a few things that I remember from childhood that I have not been able to quite get there. So research. Which was always my favorite part of my uni education. Research, at least to me, is fun. What do you expect from a historian? Research. Yep. I’m a total nerd that way, but it was always my favorite part, at least until I learned how to really write. A public school education, at least in my day, did not really teach you how to write. It was sad really. The one thing I learned working for my master’s degree was that I needed to learn how to write and understand the English language much better than a public school education had taught me. To bad it cost a crap-load of money to do that.

I am still a word nerd, but I do not think that is a bad thing. It is kind of funny, I think if I had to do it over again, I would be (a Secret Service agent – no … really!) or a linguist (much more likely).

So research it will be for the following things:

Peanut Butter Fudge – can not quite help myself.

My mom’s meatloaf – especially a meatloaf sandwich.

Chicken and Rice – really simple, but slightly amazing.

Cheese Crackers – did the Cracker Challenge a few years ago, but I feel like the only person that makes cheese crackers – is that possible?

Potato Salad – been struggling with this all summer – and not to my satisfaction.

Peach Cobbler – wow – this one is charged. I love my mom’s recipe, but I don’t really like the biscuits on top. How to fix that?