Saturday, October 02, 2010

Back to School--Cooking School, That is

I got up at 6:30 this morning, a Saturday, and drove an hour to Bakersfield College. That's quite an accomplishment for someone who hates starting her Saturday's too early. I'm going to take pastry classes at the Levan Center at B.C. for six weeks. Bakersfield College offers a degree in cooking, but our class is more for people who are interested in enrichment. A friend of mine, who loves cooking like I do, is taking the class with me, and we had a fun time. All six sessions are just $130. My cooking friends and I have spent $80 for one session several times in Los Angeles. After our orientation, we made some "Peanut Butter 'n Jelly Thumbprint" cookies. I would categorize myself as a pretty good cookie baker, but today I learned how much I had to learn. First of all, "Chef Ray" reinforced something that I already knew, that your ingredients should all be at room temperature. Secondly, he taught us another thing I also kind of knew, that when you add your flour mixture to your wet ingredients that you should just barely mix them together.  As I say, I knew these things, but I have rarely adhered to them. I think I will try to from now on because these were some of the best cookies I've ever baked. I learned some other neat stuff, but I'll share the recipe instead of rambling on too long.

Peanut Butter 'n Jelly Thumbprints

3/4 cup Chunky homey-roasted peanut butter, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup jam or jelly
1 egg

1. In a large bowl, comgine 1/2 cup peanut butter, the sugars, butter, and egg. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. cover with plastic wrap. chill 3 to 4 hours, or until firm. (We didn't chill our dough, and our cookies were perfect.)

2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough in 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Indent top of each cookie with thumb. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set.

3. Immediately indent cookies again. Spoon 1/2 tsp. each of jelly and remaining peanut butter into each thumbprint. Cool completely before storing

I still have not knitting to show off. I've been working on my elegant empire pretty steadily, and continue to make no progress, as I am still unraveling mistakes. I'm not discouraged really, but it has put me in the mood for some instant gratification. I made this little pumpkin ornament from Prairie Point Junction this afternoon. I'm planning to make six or seven of them and hang them from our mantle this month.


Beate said...

Mmmmmm jummy! those looks great.
So fun doing something you love.
thanks for recipe-

ImplausibleYarn said...

lucky! I wish there was something like that around here!

Anonymous said...

Those look delicious! My Mum was a wonderful baker, but I didn't inherit her skill, unfortunately.

TheBlackSheep said...

Yummmmm! They look fab and remind me of Christmas cookies. (only 74 shopping days left!)

Wool Winder said...

One of the first things I ever baked as a child learning to cook were cookies. They are still my favorite to make, though I rarely bake them as I really should not eat them. Your cookies look perfectly delicious.

Tracy said...

Enjoy the cooking... sounds like fun! LOVE these cookies...mmm... Your ornament is so sweet. I can imagine a twiggy autumn tree with lots of felty ornaments. Happy Days ((HUGS))

JayJay said...

Yum! I have been craving cookies (which probably aren't good for the baby, but who can resist). Thanks for the baking tips. My daughter is really into baking (perhaps she is a baking prodigy at 2 1/2?), so we are doing more of it than usual.

labatterie said...

They are still my favorite to make, though I rarely bake them as I really should not eat them.