A Win of Omission: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

For me, baking is a form of therapy and meditation rolled into one. Since it’s a long weekend here in Ontario (Happy Victoria Day!); and since I’ve been assiduously following my Total Health course guidelines up until now; and since I’ve got scads of marking to finish before Monday–I decided to take a break. In other words, I decided to bake cookies. I found the recipe for Cozy Inside’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and prepared to adapt the general concept to a NAG-friendly alternative.

[Brief aside: It always astonishes me how acute (and also how “cute”–don’t you just love their noses?) a dog’s sense of smell can be (anywhere from 100 to 1 million times greater than humans’, depending on whom you believe).  No matter what the statistic, Our Girls are evidently both healthy in the realm of olfactory acuity. While I pondered my recipe, I unscrewed the jar of peanut butter, absent-mindedly scooping some into the measuring cup.  Even before the PB hit the glass, I detected the patter of little paws as Elsie and Chaser sauntered nonchalantly into the room.  “Um, Mum, it appears you are scooping peanut butter.  Would any of that be directed, perchance, toward our Kongs?”]

After positioning The Girls in their usual spot just beyond the kitchen’s perimeter, I set about mixing my cookies. Maybe I was distracted by the canine audience in the peanut (butter) gallery; maybe I was preoccupied with the remaining assignments awaiting their grades; or maybe I took a subconscious cue from a fellow blogger who’s mentioned her propensity to overlook certain recipe instructions. . . but before I knew it, the cookies were mixed, they’d been popped in the oven and were baking. . .whatever the case, I was suddenly hit with the realization:

I’d omitted a MAJOR ingredient!

I mean, “Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies”–with NO OATMEAL?  (Duh–Dude, it’s, like, the first word in the title!)

That got me thinking about lies.  Lies, damn lies, and. . . biscuits. The cookies baked on; I waited, breath bated.  Would my error end up a sin of omission–or a serendipitous oversight? 

Well, I’m sure we’re all familiar with “little white lies” (To wit: “Oh, yes, your outfit is. . . really original” or “I’m so sorry to cancel at the last minute. . . must be that 24-hour stomach flu that’s going around. . . ” or “No, honey, I didn’t forget to pick up the milk on the way home, but my car was almost out of gas, so I decided to wait until tomorrow instead. . .”).  Such behavior is often rationalized on the grounds that the recipient’s feelings are spared.  Sorry, but I think that’s baloney (or, if you’re otherwise inclined, tofurkey):a  lie is a lie.

But what about those lies of omission–just “keeping mum”?  When I was in my twenties, I knew someone who used this method with stellar results.  If faced with an uncomfortable question, she simply avoided it and diverted attention to another topic, like a New York con man with a shell game. Alternately, she didn’t answer at all (in which case, technically, she never had to lie).  Here’s an example:

Mother: Are you and your girlfriends going to a rave and taking drugs tonight?

Teen:  Geez, Mom, look at what I’m wearing.  Do I look like I’m going to a rave?

Mother: Well, um. . .  [knits brow in confusion]. Well, have a good time, dear.

See how easy?  Here’s a slightly more intricate prevarication: 

Mother:  Hmm.  So you’re going to spend two weeks at your boyfriend’s apartment in Los Angeles.  Well, you know how I feel about these things. . . are you going to sleep in the same bed with him?

Daughter: [rolling eyes and grimacing distastefully] Geez, Mom.  The place has a hide-a-bed in the living room.

Mother: Um, well, okay. . . . [knits brow in confusion]. Well, have a good time, dear.

It’s like the little kid who breaks a vase while Mum is at work, then gingerly hides the shards behind the potted plant; weeks later, when Mum finally happens upon the shattered porcelain and erupts, “Why didn’t you TELL me about this?!!” the child can respond in all honesty: “Well, you never asked. . . ” 

Since this recent cookie debacle, I may need to loosen my standards on the issue. I’ve discovered that sometimes, omission can be a good thing–particularly when it involves chocolate chips and peanut butter. Those cookies were stupendous.  In fact, they are probably the best PB and chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had–and that’s no lie! 

Just barely dry and crisp on the edges, soft, gooey and fudgy in the middle, they possessed the most delightfully intense peanut butter flavor.  I loved the interplay of crunchy bits of peanut alongside the soft, melted chips in every bite.  (And believe me, many bites were had by all around here). Luckily, I halved the recipe (one of the advantages of vegan baking–no eggs to “divide,” so splitting recipes is easy), or I might have eaten even more.

Earlier this afternoon, the HH returned from a long dog-walk, scrounging for a cookie.  “Where are those cookies you baked yesterday?” he wondered.

“Um, there aren’t any left.” 

“What–none left?  But there were, like, six left over this morning! Where did they all go?”

“I thought you ate some,” I stammered.

“Well, I did, but. . . I mean, I. . . Hey, wait a sec.  DID YOU FINISH ALL THOSE COOKIES??”

I rolled my eyes, and grimaced distastefully.  “Now, really, HH.  Do you honestly think I would eat six cookies in one day?” 

“Well, um. . . ” [knits brow in confusion].  He wandered back into the kitchen, searching for something else to eat.

What?  Don’t give me that look.  Well, he didn’t ask.  And I certainly wasn’t about to tell. 

(“Mum, don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. Besides, six cookies in one day is nothing. . . we could eat an entire bag of dog cookies in one day, if only you’d let us. . . “)


 

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Comments

  1. I’m all for baking as therapy, these look like real winners!

  2. they look perfect and I will try them asap!

  3. Baking is DEFINITELY a great form of therapy/stress-relief. Love it!! And what better way to take a break than by baking peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookies??? Yum!!

    And yes, dogs’ sense of smell is quite fascinating!

  4. Great cookies! I also feel the same about baking and cooking in general. It’s very relaxing and a good stress-relief!

  5. Courtney says:

    Wow. Lame comment, I know, but all I can say is WOW!

    The photo of those cookies looks SO good…and I am not even a huge fan of peanut butter! Your description and the photos have me drooling, though. Must. Get. Peanut butter. ASAP!

    Thanks!
    Courtney

  6. Two of my favorite things in one package!! Your cookies look awesome (I can’t keep peanut butter in the house because the husband and I are absolute fiends). Baking is definitley therapy fo me- when I’m in my kitchen, I feel like I’m in charge.

  7. Those look gorgeous! What a lovely colour they turned out, just the colour of peanut butter.

    Can I ask what sucant is?

  8. I DO love chocolate and peanut butter! This recipe looks wonderful.

  9. Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Your cookies are gorgeous! I just baked a batch of PB cookies last week, and now I can’t wait to try your recipe! YUM! They sound divine!

    Your stories about aversion totally had me laughing in delight… :-)

  10. Oh goodness. “Avoidance,” not “aversion.” Exams have addled my poor brain a wee bit… Apologies for the typo!

  11. Look like my sort of cookies – although I was all excited to see some with oatmeal I am sure I would have to try quite a few of these – just test tasting, mind you!

    btw when your girls said they could eat a bag of dog cookies in a day, I expected them to say they could eat a bag in an hour – that is the type of dogs we have always had! (are dog cookies savoury or are they sweet? I’ve only heard of dog biscuits which are full of meat)

  12. Well, sometimes the gods are smiling on one.

    Poppy is obsessed with peanut butter, but, oddly, more obsessed with licking Vegemite off the floor.

    They look fabulous. Knitting my own brow in confusio, I have to say that I’ve known too many girls like your friend. How do they get away with it? ;-)

  13. Ricki,

    Loved the post and loved the recipe! I’m so glad I found your site, you inspire me so much. Your writing is just wonderful – you deserve a book deal, truly. I can’t wait for each new post. How is your back now, by the way? I also suffer with back problems and have to go really easy on myself.

    Take care of yourself!

  14. veganhomemade says:

    Those cookies look SO GOOD! I’m almost afraid to try them, I might eat them all in one day too.

  15. Romina,

    Thanks! (And cheaper than psychoanalysis, too!)

    Celine,
    I’d be honored! Do let me know how they turn out if you try them.

    VeggieGirl,
    True, I couldn’t think of a better break. And I guess you’ve had first-hand experience with the supersonic dog noses, with your own pup!

    Lovliebutterfly,
    Very therapeutic, yes! And then you get to eat the results, of course :)

    Courtney,
    You could try these with almond butter, too, I’d think and they’d turn out well. Or maybe a mixed-nut butter (hmm, getting some ideas here. . .). And it’s not “lame”; it’s “succinct”–but no matter, I always welcome and love reading your comments!

    Heather,
    I think that’s part of it for me, too–the sense of mastery in the kitchen. Thanks for your comment (and what a great beret! Hope the visit was better than you expected. . . )

    Holler,
    I hadn’t realized they’re PB color, but so they are (actually I think most of my stuff is generally “brownish,” what with all the whole grains and unrefined sweeteners!). Sucanat is a natural, unrefined cane sweetener that is simply sugar cane juice dehydrated. It stands for SUgar CAne NATural. You can find out more about it (and other natural sweeteners) in an article I wrote here .

    atxvegn,
    Thanks so much! I guess it is a classic combo. . .

    Astra Libris,
    Thanks so much! Never too many PB cookies, I say! (And glad the stories amused–in retrospect, I found them funny, too) :)

    Johanna,
    Ha! Well, I suppose you could just add the oatmeal back IN for the original version! And I give my Girls only savory dog cookies–fairly hard to find these days over here (I was appalled the other day to read the ingredients of “natural” dog biscuits and saw SUGAR and HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP–in DOG cookies!) You can get PB biscuits, or veggie biscuits, that aren’t sweet.

    Lucy,
    The Girls, too, adore PB (and get it far too often from this softie of a Mum). I’d be very curious to see if the dogs would try Vegemite! And how did those other girls they get away with it? Chutzpah, I’d say!

    Sue,
    Thank you so much (feel free to put in a word with the publishers–ha ha!). I haven’t mentioned the back because it’s just so unpredictable–ever since that Great Back Relapse last month, it’s been on the edge, a few days good, a few days bad. But I think the overall trend is toward “better”–like you, I must always be vigilant or fear that telltale “SNAP” and then–ouch!! ;)

  16. veganhomemade,
    Would love you to try them (but be forewarned). I think I’ll have to lay off this recipe for a while, anyway!

  17. Oh god, I loved your aversion Mom & Daughter dialogue, I had teenager flashbacks!

  18. “Just barely dry and crisp on the edges, soft, gooey and fudgy in the middle, they possessed the most delightfully intense peanut butter flavor.”

    Ricki, you’re making me drool! Those sound amazing and look so… soft, gooey and fudgy. Aw man, I’m drooling again.

  19. Forget my oatmeal! Come to Happy Herbivore! Cookies are totally acceptable bfast food!

  20. Lol, this reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother my freshman year of college:

    Mother: “G. [my boyfriend at the time, who went to college two states away] seems to be with you on weekends a lot. Where does he sleep?”

    Me: “There’s plenty of room on the floor!”

    Note I did not say that’s where he was sleeping. . . .

    The cookies sound deeeelicious. I should try them soon with some gf flour.

  21. This post is so funny! I especially enjoyed the mother-daughter commentary (not that I’ve ever been guilty of that…)

    And the cookies look marvelous— oatmeal or not!

  22. shellyfish,
    Glad they amused! (And I won’t ask whether the flashbacks involved YOU as a teenager, or you WITH a teenaged daughter. . . ) ;)

    Lizzie,
    Always nice to hear from another cookie lover! Glad you liked the sound of these.

    Happy Herbivore,
    Unfortunately, I tend to agree with you all too often. . . I really shouldn’t have those in the house!

    Sally,
    Your dialogue is a riot! I’m getting such a kick out of hearing from everyone with a similar story–I had no idea!! :) If you bake up a GF batch, let me know how they turn out.

    CCV,
    I have to admit I never had the nerve to conduct one of those types of conversations with my mother, either. . . but I’d have no qualms about the cookies :)

  23. Peanut butter and chocolate is irresistible! How could I resist!

  24. Oh – i just saw the link to my blog – made me laugh as leaving out something is just what I do all too often! Oh well just adds variety to the versions of recipes to try out – as if there aren’t enough around :-)

  25. just a note to let you know I haven’t given up on the dream of making these, but several things are keeping me from doing so right now. it’s only a matter of time, my belly says. :)

  26. oooh quick question: do you scoop up the flour or do you spoon it lightly in the cup?

  27. These were really good!! I used spelt that I freshly ground then sifted to remove a lot of the bran to mimic more of a whole wheat pastry flour. I only used a 1/4 cup of sucanat because that is all I happened to have. I reduced the milk by two tablespoons and added two extra tablespoons of grade b maple syrup (to make up for lack of sucanat) and this seemed to work because they were the right sweetness.I chopped up some of a 80% dark chocolate bar to add into the mix.

    I used spectrum plain sesame oil as the oil and for the peanut butter I used my vita mix to make some fresh ground peanut butter. I added a healthy pinch of fleur de sel to the peanut butter when it was in the blender. My batter wasn’t that wet maybe because the peanut butter wasn’t as loose,nonetheless though, they turned out wonderful.

    I whipped up some banana “ice cream”
    http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/stay-cool/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-093414
    to make ice cream cookie sandwiches. Delicious!!
    I am still out of sucanat and want to make another batch so I may just play around with a brown rice syrup and maple syrup mix.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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