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Local and Seasonal: It's cookie-making time

December 05, 2009

With Christmas fast approaching, my kids are going crazy wanting to spend time in the kitchen baking cookies.

So, I came up another variation on an old standby. To give these cookies even better flavor, forgo store-bought peanut butter and opt for fresh peanut butter from the Peanut Gallery at the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Longmeadow Shopping Center in North Hagerstown. The fresh peanut flavor will amaze you, and it adds depth to this recipe.

I'd also suggest picking up some fresh vanilla extract, ginger snap cookies and any other recipe item you can find at the market while you're picking up your peanut butter.

Peanut butter and gingersnap cookies

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup peanut butter (see cook's note)
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg, room temperature
12 gingersnap cookies
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

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In a sturdy mixer, use a paddle (not a wisk) to combine brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, molasses and egg. Beat at medium speed until fluffy.

Break apart gingersnap cookies and add to the mix. Beat on high for about 2 minutes, until cookies are broken down and incorporated into the dough.

In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Turn mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture; continue mixing until well blended. Remove dough from bowl and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Shape dough into 1- to 2-inch balls, depending upon the size cookie you desire. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a fork dipped into sugar, flatten dough balls in a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove and allow to cool.

Cook's note: Smooth peanut butter works better but you can substitute chunky.

Makes 3 dozen cookies..

Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services.

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