After seeing my mother a week before she died in February, I came home and lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling. I did that for a few weeks, then I began to read. I was always a reader, but this was different. I'd stay up sometimes until 3am, then get up at 6:30 and get on with my day, stopping by the library for another armful of books. And when both my children suddenly announced they were both moving away ( which, by the way, I think is wonderful), I kept reading. Now I also go on long walks, and am less faithful to posting on the blog on time. It's a process, and I think it's a healthy one.
But this summer there's been a flurry of sudden, sad deaths: a friend also lost her mother last week, a baby bird in my lilac bush lay broken-winged and still , a foodblogger lost her young husband to a sudden heart attack. When a call went out to make his favorite peanut butter pie, I could only manage to make this lovely peanut butter shortbread cookie from Maida Heatter. Here it is, in memory of Mikey, and blessings to his little girls and his lovely wife. May God hold them tenderly.
Maida Heatter's Peanut Butter Icebox cookies:
First you make the dough and let it sit in the freezer, before slicing and baking.
2 cups King Arthur flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 stick ( 4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. almond extract
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.
Cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth, then add the vanilla and almond extracts and both sugars and mix well. Add the egg and mix again. Then slowly add the flour mixture and mix until it forms a ball of dough in the mixer bowl.
Remove the dough, squeezing and rolling it into a sausage shape, about 12 inches long, and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on a cutting board, and place in freezer for at least 40 minutes. ( you can also use half the dough now, and the rest later - just place in a freezer bag if you do that)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
Take out the log of dough and cut 1/4 inch slices off the log, transferring them to the baking sheet, about an inch apart.
Bake for 18 minutes and remove to cool.
To make sandwich cookies, just spread with more peanut butter, or leftover frosting, then top with another cookie.
Some favorite books this week:
The Poems of Stanley Kunitz
The red Garden by Alice Hoffman