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Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #5 and Soft Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

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What’s to say about this week’s Soft Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie? Seems like it’s all in the title–they’ve got chocolate and peanut butter and their soft, which is good if you don’t want crumbs all over your desk or your couch. And they’re rich and yummy, but that pretty much goes without saying at R&R. Yup, this week’s intro is all in the title–of the recipe, that is.

But what’s to say about Before the Mellowing Year? Quite a lot, really. The title comes from the first stanza of John Milton’s great pastoral elegy, “Lycidas,” and refers, ironically, to the author pushing his literary talents beyond his current ability in the quest to eulogize a college friend’s untimely death by drowning, summoning rhymes and allusions and metaphors ahead of their due season–“before the mellowing year.”

This phrase in turn refers to the novel’s main characters, Zach Sandstrom and Allison Mayes Sandstrom, endeavoring to lead adult lives and make adult choices and commitments while still adolescents (Allison is eighteen and Zach twenty). As a result, they get caught up in the riptides of emotional development and life’s challenges and changes. And the novel follows them through these struggles.

In last week’s serial, the two managed to find the common ground of affection in a stark and beautiful wilderness setting. This week’s serial describes how that setting, and their individual and communal outlook, can reverse in little more than an instant.

Check it out and see what you think, while eating your Soft Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie.

pb choc chip cookies

Soft Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

heaping 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

To a large mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat the ingredients with a handheld mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, and beat into creamed butter. Mix in the peanut butter until well incorporated. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and ensure all ingredients are well mixed. Slowly stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined, careful not to over mix the cookie dough. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips. Cover the cookie dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Once the cookie dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Place each ball of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. You should get 12 cookies.

Bake the cookies in your preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, or until just set and the edges just begin to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 cookies.

peanut butter choc cookies

{Adapted from Averie Cooks}

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #5, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Before the Mellowing Year, Serial #5, text © Jeffrey Anderson


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