All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

peanut butter icebox cookies and the poetry of loss

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


Chef Fresco said...

Sorry to hear about all your losses. =(

I hope your summer ends better! Your PB cookies look quite delicious.

katrina said...

Thank you, chefs! It's not so much sadness as shifting to a different place - and Maida's cookies are wonderful!

Marianne said...

Henry Ford said, "Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us in our marching onward." From my own experience, the really major (read sad) events all seem to be at this end of life.

Those cookies would put a smile on anyone's face. As far as your reading list goes, I am a huge fan of Anne LaMott and Alice Hoffman. Excellent choices.

I love coming to your blog. You write so beautifully.

katrina said...

Oh, Marianne, what a lovely, thoughtful comment - thank you. Where on earth did you find that Henry Ford quote? There's a biography I should look for at the library.
Threaded through my life, there have been many sad, shocking, brokenhearted stories about people I knew, but as you get older, life gets quieter, so sad or bad things seem to reverberate a little longer, or so it seems to me. My thanks again....

Barb said...

For whatever reason, there seems to be rather a lot of sadness around right now. I just attended the funeral of my very best friend's mother. She had a long, wonderful, full life so we actually celebrated her life, but it doesn't really make it any easier.

I love the quote from Henry Ford - I'm going to keep it close as a good reminder.

Blessings to all!

katrina said...

You know, Barb - I still have a problem with "celebrations of his/her life" when someone dies. I always feel sad, and a party just doesn't seem appropriate to me. I know there are a gazillion people who would disagree with me, but I just have to be honest about it.
I'm sorry to hear about your friend's Mom, and you are right, it doesn't make it any easier. Enough of that today, though - I just finished four books in two days and I'm off for a walk. Take good care, Barb!

Cassy said...

So sorry to hear your mom passed away.

By the way, those cookies look yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I wanna make some at home.

Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons