Here, Have a Cookie

Athena has to make peanut butter cookies for a 4-H project she’s doing, so she’s been baking a bit over the last couple of days, and my job, since I’m not allowed to help her make the cookies (by the 4-H rules), is to act as the official taste tester, and provide my thoughts and comments on each batch. Yes, it’s a tough responsibility, eating cookies, but I feel I’m up to the task. The batch you see here in fact tasted great, although esthetically and as a matter of baking efficiency we may have to go for slightly smaller cookies the next time out. And if that doesn’t work, then by God, I’ll keep eating cookies until we hit the perfect formula. I’m just that selfless when it comes to my child.

43 thoughts on “Here, Have a Cookie

  1. Hmmmmmm…I want to be John’s intern this summer. You know, tio help with the cookie burden he’s tasting.

  2. Mmmmm….peanut butter cookies.

    I might have to stop in at Charlotte’s Bakery this afternoon, since it’s here in Fresno and Athena and her cookies are all the way in Ohio. Charlotte’s pb cookies are marvelous.

    I don’t know if you left Fresno before Charlotte’s opened, John. But if you like peanut butter cookies and are ever back in Fresburg, you really need to drop into Charlotte’s and try some. They’re on Wishon in the Tower District, right across the parking lot from BofA.

    Oh, and thanks for screwing with my diet. :P

  3. That’s why we love you, John. You’re always willing to take one for the team.

    “mmmmphph, these are just a bit over done. We’ll have to try again. Oh no, honey. I’ll make sure nobody else tastes these.”

  4. Greater love hath no man…..

    To help you along with your eating and her cookie project a small suggestion. My incredible cook wife makes them in small balls, a bit smaller than a ping pong ball, then puts a fork, actually the fork tines, on top and pushes down slighly. That puts the characteristic (she says) peanut butter cookie mark on top of each cookie and they stay smaller than those in the picture above.

    If worked right, you should be able to go through several batches getting the marks right. Helps her, helps you. A win-win in my book.

    Michael

  5. I would think 4-H would choose a cookie less likely to KILL SOMEONE WITH NUT ALLERGIES. Oh whatever – I wouldn’t want life without peanut butter.

  6. Go Athena! I learned to bake and cook in 4-H. It is a repository of useful skills! I also learned to sew, take good photos, and tug a thirteen hundred pound animal around by a rope when he didn’t want to go.

    See? Useful skills!

  7. I dunno… If it’s for 4-H I think that this “baking” project is simply a ruse. It’s more likely that she’s trying to fatten you up in time for judging at the county fair and then the eventual auction. I think it’s time for you to find a spider that will spell “Hugo Winner” in silk webbing above your bed.

  8. I’m assuming this is for the County Fair? I don’t remember our County Fair rules saying that parents couldn’t help – I definitely relied on my mom a lot when fighting with the oven.

  9. Speaking purely professionally, you might also check the softness of your fat (usually butter, but sometimes shortening with PB cookies) – the colder the better, as it’ll help prevent spread/flattening.

    Suggestion: make the dough, using cold fat. Chill. Scoop into balls to put onto sheet, mark with fork. Chill. Then bake. Gives you nice fluffy cookies.

    Oh, and baking on silpat or parchment paper saves you a world of cleanup duty afterwards.

    But yeah, sucky job you have there. :)

  10. I salute you sir.
    You are an inspiration to fathers everywhere.
    Unfortunately, my son does not bake, but he does grill a pretty good steak.
    Mmmmmmmm…..steak….

  11. Is she allowed to get advice from the interwebs? Because I always find that people never put enough salt in or on peanut butter cookies. Mmmm, salt.

    (Also, try peanut flour!)

  12. John, I think you need to see how well the cookies travel. Just wrap them in plastic wrap, box them up and mail them to me in Burbank, CA and I’d be happy to let you know how they turn out. Because I’m just a giver like that.

  13. You are a great 4-H dad.

    And, as a daughter of a former 4-Her, former 4-Her myself, parent of a former 4-Her, and former 4-H leader, gotta say, it’s a great program.

    Her leader is grooming her for National 4-H Congress her senior year in high school, right? It varies by state, but in my state record-keeping was a major issue. I didn’t get to go, but my son did.

  14. My daughter baked several small batches of chocolate chip cookies with variations on different ingredients (omit salt, omit baking powder, omit vanilla, etc.) one year for a science project. And she had to have them taste tested as well. I know what this is like and it isn’t nearly the treat as it sounds like. But you’re a good dad and up to the challenge.

  15. *sigh* I think about eating one’s 4-H project, and I think about my mom’s 4-H steer. Poor Bo. Apparently he was tasty. Maybe that’s why I never did 4-H.

    Peanut butter cookies, on the other hand … NOM!

  16. I recommend some focus on consistent sizing of cookies within a single cookie sheet. prevents over- and under-cooking some while having others perfect.

    I’ll eat the underdone ones though.

  17. “To make the best peanut butter cookies.” Hmm. Can’t say it’s an improvement over the old 4-H motto, but I could get behind it.

    Go Athena!

    Signed Bob P, adult leader for Washoe County Rocketeers 4-H Club

  18. Hey, cool: yay for 4H! A whole lot of what I know and use every day (including very certainly any ability I have to think logically and express myself clearly) I owe to 4-H. I was a 10 year member*, both my parents were leaders (and Mom judged cooking, meal prep, and bread baking), and my nephew has a pig project even now.

    About the cookies: remember that flour varies in moisture content, and in humid weather you might need a little less liquid or a little more flour.

    (Yelm Prairie Wranglers)

  19. Very cool! Peanut butter cookies are one of my faves; I bet you’ve got one of the best jobs in the world right now =).

    I’m always happy when I see kids are still participating in 4-H. My mom & aunt ran a 4-H sewing club years ago (we did some ceramics too). People always seem surprised when I tell them I was in 4-H, but guess who always offers to fix seams, rips, & buttons ^_^

    Athena looks like she’s having a blast – hope her project goes great!

  20. She is one cute kid. Not too many years before Dad will be sitting on the porch with a shotgun, weeding out the suitors. ;)

    Jeff P.

  21. Let me know if Athena would be interested in my recipe for chocolate chocolate chip cookies — the one that uses three different types of chocolate chips. (A very good friend told me that just the smell of these cookies alone would put a diabetic into a coma at 50 meters.)

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