Uh...a warning, friends and readers, readers and friends. The following few paragraphs are kind of sort of really depressing. Feel free to skip directly to the recipe if you'd like. I'll still love you. <3 So, awful things have happened in the last few days.
Last monsoon-disgusting Friday night, as I was walking home from the subway station, I noticed a disturbed man about fifty feet in front of me, screaming at no one in particular and thrashing about wildly. Guess what? The dude's coat was the same color as mine, and since I happened to be walking in the same direction I guess I gave the impression that I was following him or mocking him or something, which did not endear me to him (not that I was looking for that but...whatever). And this one, rainy, horrible night, absolutely no one was around to help. There was not a soul walking or driving down the normally busy street in front of my apartment building. I was afraid that if I ran, he'd run after me. I was afraid if I screamed, he'd scream louder and drown me out. I was afraid if I pulled out my phone to call someone, he'd threaten to kill me. And guess what? The second a person did show up to help me and calm me down, the second I did pull out my phone to dial the cops, this man did threaten to kill me. He saw me with my phone from across the street, saw what I was doing, and threatened to kill me. Every bad thing I've ever thought could ever happen to me was starting to happen, and I was paralyzed. I felt scared, defeated, stupid, embarrassed and angry all at once.
I saw him walk away, thought he had left, and made my way with helpful stranger in tow towards my building, where the man brushed right by me...and then disappeared around a corner. Just like that, it was all over, and I ran into my apartment shaking and crying and attempting to explain what had just happened in stutters and spurts to my boyfriend.
So now what I'm thinking is, I have this army-green coat that I never want to wear again, and maybe I don't want to live in New York anymore, maybe I can't live in New York anymore, maybe I'm too scared or too sensitive or too irritable or too something. And thinking all of that upsets me and breaks my heart a little bit.
Also, my landlord has decided to sell our apartment and has left us to deal with a rather snobby, pushy realtor who insists on inserting herself into our living space (and kicking us out) whenever she pleases in order to hold open houses or show nosy strangers around. So, there's that.
I know I'm not usually so forthcoming. Actually, I'm typically kind of sketchy, no? I haven't really told anyone but my boyfriend and my younger sister--and, uh, the cops--what happened, which makes it even stranger that I'd want to tell the world in a blog post. I also hope I don't sound like I'm being dramatic at all. I know much worse happens every day and I know much worse could have happened that day. But I'm still kind of shaken up by it all, and I guess I consider myself a writer, and sometimes the only way to heal a wound is by doing something that you love. That means writing, and that means baking, specifically baking something comforting.
Believe it or not, even though peanut butter is my jam (ha...ha?), I have never made a peanut butter cookie. I have no idea how I have made it to this age without doing so, but now is the time to get cracking. Armed with a cookie book gifted to us by some awesome, awesome friends, I got to it. It's peanut butter cookie time.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)
adapted from a recipe in Carole Walter's Great Cookies
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of quick-cooking or rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (I used smooth because I was trying to get rid of a jar of it, but crunchy would likely rule your and my world if you let it)
1 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat together peanut butter, butter, honey and sugars. When smooth, beat in egg until fully mixed. Stir in vanilla extract.
Fold in dry ingredients and mix just until combined, then send into your refrigerator for about an hour, or until the batter is completely chilled.
Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls onto your cookie sheets, about two inches apart. Then, with a fork, lightly flatten each ball, making a "crisscross" pattern.
Place cookie sheets in oven-- one on top rack, one on bottom rack-- for 11 to 13 minutes. To be honest, I would and did take them out around 11 minutes, since these especially tend to bake very quickly. Towards the end of baking, rotate the pans and switch racks to ensure even baking, and take out when the tops are very lightly browned.
Let cool on pans for about a minute, then move to wire racks until completely cooled.
Verdict? Well, believe it or not, these actually made me feel so much better. Peanut butter is my comfort food. My boyfriend will tell you that I can often be seen hovering in front of the open fridge, with my back to him, obviously trying to hide the fact that I am sneaking spoonfuls of PB. I have problems.
These cookies are remarkable. I actually cut the sugar quite a bit, and went for all-natural peanut butter, which is unsweetened, so I was skeptical of how they'd ultimately taste. But they were peanut buttery amazeballs. Really. I even took it just a step further and did this:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies, which may or may not be replacing my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch. Bread is for birds anyway, right? Don't judge me. Please don't judge me.