I can’t believe it’s already week 8 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats. We’re less than 6 weeks away from Christmas. I’ve pulled out my Christmas tree and decorations from the closet but have yet to put them up. The Husband and I usually decorate right after Remembrance Day so we’re a few days late and it’s driving me nuts! People think I’m crazy to start celebrating this early but I don’t care. This time of year makes me so happy that I really like to prolong the feeling by decorating early and taking it down late (usually mid-January). I start humming Christmas carols in early November and will be breaking out my Christmas CDs soon so that I can jam out in my car like a total dork. Am I lame because even holiday commercials on tv make me giddy? Ok, yeah…
One year, I worked at the same firm as a friend from law school, Wilbur Hartley. We shared an office and I discovered that while he loved Christmas itself, he hated everything that went along with it, namely the commercialization of the holiday. That disdain was also aimed at the early, overzealous decorations that went up as soon as Halloween was over. Just to indulge my inner jerk, I promptly went to the dollar store, bought about $60 worth of the cheapest, cheesiest, over-the-top decorations I could get my gleeful hands on, and set about covering every square inch of our little office with Christmas joy. All the other lawyers got in on it too – we were like Satan’s little elves (pun intended).
I’m actually laughing as I write this – I had Christmas music playing, a giant plastic Santa and Frosty the Snowman pinned to the wall right above Wilbur’s desk, red and green garlands hanging everywhere, a cheap plastic sleigh lit up with lights, a red felt Santa hat strewn across the back of Wilbur’s chair, an advent calendar full of waxy faux-chocolate (I believe it’s the same material used for brown crayons), fake poinsettas and Christmas trees. You name the horrible Christmas decoration, I had it.
Wilbur trudged into the office, tired from a long day in court, cart full of files towed in hand, and his reaction was priceless. It’s a testament to his law-abiding nature that he didn’t strangle me with garland. He also gamely sat in the office for the rest of the month surrounded by these holiday abominations. There was one terrible night I forgot to unplug the sleigh and was convinced that it had melted, burst into flame and burned the office down with all our files (which were supposed to be locked up in fire-retardant cabinets but weren’t…shhhh!). The sleigh was made in China and only cost $1.50 – there’s no way it wouldn’t have spontaneously combusted!
Look at this – it’s a piece of crap!
Thankfully (or not, depending on how badly I wanted to be off work, because obviously I would’ve been fired) the office was still standing the next day. Did that make me stop using the sleigh light? Of course not!
Good times, good times.
So what am I bringing to the holiday table today? I love peanut butter cookies. Last year, I baked the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever made, with a mini Reese’s peanut butter cup tucked into the top. Damnitall, I’ve totally misplaced the recipe and can’t for the life of me find it or remember where I got it from. The cookies I baked this week, while not as mind-blowingly good, are still pretty fantastic. I have no idea where I got this recipe from either but in the interests of full disclosure, I didn’t develop it myself.
The 12 Weeks of Christmas is the brilliant brain child of our lovely host, Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. Check out her blog for all the deliciousness to be had from the past 8 weeks or if you want to join in on the baking fun.
I finally bought myself a kitchen scale so I can finally weigh my ingredients. Isn’t she purdy? Weighing your ingredients like flour ensures greater accuracy when baking. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, then the best way to measure out your flour is to fluff it in its container with a spoon in order to incorporate as much air as possible. Then, scoop the flour into your measuring cup and level it off. Don’t dip the measuring cup into the container – you might end up with too much flour which will make your baked good too dry and dense. An excellent tutorial on measuring flour can be found here at My Baking Addiction. This is the post that taught me how to measure flour correctly.
Peanut butter mini-Reese’s cup whole wheat cookies (from who knows where!)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (I used smooth)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and the two sugars until light and fluffy. I did this in a bowl with a wooden spoon instead of using the Kitchenaid mixer. It was quick and easy – just make sure your butter is at room temperature. Beat in the egg, peanut butter and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Add in the Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Shape cookies into 2 inch discs and place at least 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then place each cookie onto cooling racks to complete cooling.
I enjoyed these cookies – the whole wheat flour gave them an earthy, hearty flavour. They weren’t too greasy with a light, pleasant peanut buttery flavour. The Reese’s peanut butter cups were lost a bit – the next time, I might just press them into the tops of the cookies whole, or add dark chocolate chips.
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