Hannah and Her Cookies

My friend Hannah had an interesting story to relate on Friday. She has a cookie recipe that has now won a blue ribbon twice at 4-H fair judging.

Hannah has four lovely grandchildren, two of whom are girls. She went north last week to help her oldest granddaughter bake some cookies for the 4-H fair, and she took with her a recipe for peanut butter cookies. She had given that recipe to a friend before when the friend’s daughter was being judged for her cookies, and that young lady won a blue ribbon.

Hannah’s granddaughter, Chelsea, has been baking cookies all summer, but she had not yet tried peanut butter. Armed with the blue ribbon recipe, she went to work. Hannah didn’t mention much about the baking, that being Chelsea’s job, but I was especially interested to hear how she and Chelsea selected the cookies to be judged.

Hannah said she read the judging sheet, which said that uniformity of size and color were important. So, when the cookies were done, she and Chelsea looked for cookies that she had crossed evenly. (You know, how you take a fork and criss-cross peanut butter cookies to flatten them out.) They stacked the cookies to make sure they were of uniform size. Then they picked the ones that were of similar color on top. They had to pay attention to the color on the bottom, indicating the browning of the cookie, too.

Hannah’s grandma instincts served her well, because the judge looked at the cookies the same way she and Chelsea had. She stacked them to look at their size. She compared how brown they were on the bottom and how they looked on the top. Then the judge broke a cookie and told Chelsea that her cookies broke just right. Not too crisp. Not too soft.

After the breaking, of course the judge had to take a bite. She told Chelsea that bite was so good that she needed to take another. End result? Chelsea got a blue ribbon! Grandma Hannah’s recipe (or was it her loving attention?) had worked its magic again.

According to the official 4-H website, , “4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills” Baking cookies is certainly a life skill. And competing builds both leadership and citizenship skills. The ribbon proves that Chelsea has mastered these goals. She accomplished another one, too.

She made her grandma proud.

Hannah’s Blue Ribbon Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup real butter (room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon real vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Place peanut butter and butter in mixing bowl. Beat about a minute, stopping once to scrape down sides. Add sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed about a minute. Scrape sides of bowl.

In another bowl, thoroughly combine the baking soda and flour. Gradually add to other batter. I told Chelsea to never use a mixer once the flour goes into any cookie recipe; always hand-stir just until blended.

Refrigerate batter 45 minutes to an hour. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place about two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press flat with fork in a criss-cross pattern to about 1/4 inch thickness. Dip fork in flour as you go. It keeps it from sticking to the dough. I bake at about 365 F for nine minutes. Cool on wire racks. I then place on paper towels to absorb oil from the cookies. This recipe makes about 36 cookies. However, I have never prepared these cookies without doubling this recipe.


2 Responses to “Hannah and Her Cookies”

  1. 1 J H September 15, 2006 at 10:15 am

    No p-nut butter in recipe that won the blue ribbon?

  2. 2 Becky September 16, 2006 at 11:15 am

    Thanks, JH. I am soooo embarrassed! I got in touch with Hannah, and the recipe is fixed now.

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