What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Hitting the jackpot with old-fashioned comfort cookies
Special to the Tribune
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Back in 2007, I was a frequent player of Wheel of Fortune slot machines. I had a winning formula. Once I got that win-win feeling, I’d grab my swimsuit, and hit the casinos. Then, walking around the dollar slots, if I got a good vibe I knew it was the right machine. One week day, for instance, in five minutes, I won four hundred bucks and cashed out. I swam laps, chilled in the hot tub, and treated myself to a Starbucks’ big chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie. It was the perfect combination and I felt great once I returned home.
These days, still stung by the recession recovery, I figured out how to get that feel-good, gambling-winner high – and that includes making cookies.
On the past Sunday this feat brought me back to the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area when I was in the fifth grade.
One cold winter day, I “faked being sick” and my mom let me stay home alone. We got a new Dalmatian, Casey, and I wanted to be with him all day. I read cookbooks full of complicated instructions. Then, I baked a batch of simple, old-fashioned peanut butter cookies. I was in kid heaven doing exactly what I wanted for comfort. I enjoyed my canine companion underfoot and feeding my mind and body. It was a day to cherish.
Back to present day, I realize some things don’t change – but get better – no matter where you are. Baking cookies, writing health-related cookbooks, and having dogs took me back home. As a kid, since I didn’t follow directions, it’s no surprise that when I made cookies this time around, I combined peanut butter with two types of chocolate. What’s more, I used fats, flour, sugars (healthy honey doesn’t seem to enhance this recipe of yesteryear), and spice of my choice.
Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Cookies
3 cups all natural whole wheat flour
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup European-style butter
3⁄4 cup creamy peanut butter (not old-fashioned)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 dash of Mediterranean sea salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate
In a bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and butters. Mix in flour and baking soda. Add vanilla, spice, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Chill for an hour. Roll dough into 1 inch balls (I put a bit of peanut butter in the middle of each for an extra punch) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. With a fork, make crisscross imprints if preferred. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or till golden brown. Makes 30 medium-sized cookies.
The cookies fresh out of the oven smelled of peanut butter and the aroma in my kitchen felt warm and inviting. Mixing milk and white chocolate is a sweet delight because you get the best of both worlds if you’re a chocolate lover. Teaming a few homemade cookies with a cup of hot antioxidant-rich green tea is like hitting the feel-good jackpot.
The motto: Money can make your life fun. But a life with dog love, books and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies is priceless.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.