Last week, Abbie decided we were going to have friends over for dinner and that she was going to cook. She planned a 5-course French themed dinner and chose not to reveal to anyone what she was preparing. Abbie even went to Pike and Western Wine Shop and bought all the wine that was to be paired with our dinner without allowing any input from her food and wine loving husband (me). I was putting my time in at the hospital the night before so she finished most of her prep while I was working and sleeping.
After pleading to help with the cooking, Abbie finally let me be in charge of salads and helped in setting the table. When our good friends Arturo and Tanya arrived, we all sat down as Abbie revealed her beautifully planned meal. Salmon rillettes, boeuf a la mode (not with ice cream), cheese soufflé, and crème brulee were all wonderfully prepared and out of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around my French Table. The beef dish was hands down everyone’s favorite dish as it was fork tender, juicy and packed with flavor. By the end of the evening, we were all stuffed and happily intoxicated with great company and 3 bottles of French wine.
As hinted above, I initially had a hard time watching Abbie do all the planning and cooking for this luxuriously French meal. We don’t have people over for dinner often enough, and the few opportunities that we do, I certainly don’t like idly sitting on the sidelines watching. After all, I am FrancisFoodie and cooking is a big part of what I love to do. I admit it was nice for a change to just sit back, relax and eat. It was also a nice reminder that I’ve married one hell of a cook (Abbie’s second Twitter handle is now @mrs_foodie).
Now I don’t want to say that I felt anger or frustration for not being involved in the cooking although I do admit it was difficult. But the fact that my wife was cooking all of us dinner without allowing any involvement from me actually left me feeling a bit demasculanized. Ironically, I decided to cope and regenerate my kitchen manhood by putting on my apron and taking up baking for the first time.
Abbie was participating in a hospital sponsored bake sale and we’ve recently starting canning our own raspberry jam. I chose Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies for my first baking venture in many years. I looked up peanut butter and jelly cookies on Food Gawker and decided on a recipe from the food blog, Mind Over Batter. Her stunning photography, hysterical writing and simple gluten and flour free recipe is why I went with her website’s recipe. I’m excited to increase my versatility (and perhaps virility) in the kitchen by finally entering the world of baking.
Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies
2 1/2 cups of smooth peanut butter at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 large eggs
2.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Jelly, jam, or preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking liners. In a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, brown sugars, and baking soda on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed until just blended, about 25 seconds. You will be left with a crumbly sort of dough that should come together if pressed.
Shape level spoonfuls of dough into balls about 1 inch diameter, or use a 1.5 tsp cookie scoop. Arrange the balls about 1.5 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls of dough down slightly. If filling with jelly, make a small indentation in the middle of each cookie and fill with jelly, jam or preserves - Your choice. Repeat with each cookie.
Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are puffed and crackled but still moist looking, about 10-11 minutes, no longer.
Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from rack.
Turn half of the cooled cookies over so they are flat side up. Spoon or smear jelly, jam or preserves onto the center of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, flat side down. Press gently on each cookie to spread the filling to the edge. Let your jelly show.
Makes about 30 sandwich cookies or about 60 cookies.