Friday, May 3, 2019

Peanut Butter Cookies and Birthdays

"Keep your face to the sun and you will never see shadows."
~ Helen Keller 

In the past week, my cookbook turned two years old, and I crept over to the dark side of 50 by celebrating my 46th birthday. Both are terrific achievements, to be sure. I love how I'm still getting emails from people buying my cookbook, and baking from it. Your messages are true inspiration, and I save every one. Thank you thank you thank you! Those early days of my book baby's release into the world were a crazy mix of emotions, not unlike turning 46. Gratitude, joy, feeling a little overwhelmed, all come to mind. 46 is a no nonsense number. 
The goals are set and there is plenty of stuff I want to do, places I want to go, food I want to eat. You know, the important stuff. 

Someone once told me that we think we have so much time, but the honestly, we don't. Ten years ago I was a new homeowner, new to Saskatoon, and just trying to make a living cooking at a catering gig. This blog, this cookbook, this life, was all but a dream. Twenty years ago, I had just graduated from cooking school in Edmonton, and was on my way to the Yukon, where I would work as a camp cook for the summer, and three summer after that. My adventurous spirit was alive and well. Thirty years ago, my sixteen year old self was super into fashion, U2, getting good grades, and getting those bangs so high, so big. These blocks of time are huge - and have gone by so quickly. What will the next 30 years look like? Will my adventurous spirit still be intact? Will I still turn up the volume whenever "With or Without You" pops up on Spotify? Will the goals I want to accomplish pan out? Will menopause be just as awful as I'm expecting it to be? Will my 76 year old self think back to this day, and say girl, you shouldn't have over thought everything so much? Probably. Should I just get off my butt and go dance to some Robyn really loudly in my kitchen? Okay. Consider it done. 

Whenever the brain is full of adult angst, like it has been lately, I bake cookies. No surprise there. I really love the peanut butter cookies from my cookbook. They are loaded with peanut flavour and have white chocolate chunks and fancy salt. I had some leftover Easter candy laying around (I know, who has leftover Easter candy?!) and I threw them into the mix with great success. These are super good when dunked into a glass of cold milk, and devoured while you're living your best life, whatever that looks like for you. For me, it's with Dix on the couch, covered in cats, watching Game of Throne's on a rainy Sunday night. There's only one kick at the can/one shot at the Night King. We've got to make the most of it. 

Double Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy),
at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbsp 2% or whole milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped (1/2-inch pieces) white chocolate,
or white chocolate chips 3/4 cup smarties or m & m's
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the peanut butter and both sugars. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and beat on high for another 2 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice again.
2. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir well. Add this to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Stir in the white chocolate, candies, and peanuts by hand, just until the dough is smooth and incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Use an ice cream scoop (mine is about 1/4 cup in volume) to portion out the cookies. Place them about 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies with your hand, so they are about 1/2 an inch high. Use a fork to lightly make a cross-hatch pattern on top of the cookies. Sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake 1 baking sheet at a time for 8–10 minutes, until the middle is set and the edges are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan on a wire rack.
5. Keep the cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes about 30 large cookies.


  1. Hi Renee. Don't fret about turning 46! I am 76, have been widowed for 6 years and still look forward to every new day. I was glad to see that you included gratitude in your list of emotions you might experience on your 46th birthday. I believe there is always something for which to be grateful; some days we just need to look a little harder. And the quote from Helen Keller is so profound, coming from someone who was not able to see either the shadows or the sun but who will have experienced the sun by its warmth on her face. Keep our faces to the sun, indeed!!

    My family loves PB cookies and I plan to run this recipe past their very discerning palates! Love reading your blog posts and your book is on my "buy this" list.

    Doris Peters

  2. These are excellent cookies! I also left them in for 14-15 minutes... Next time I am also going to try them with 1/2 cup fewer chips.


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