Laura of Page & Plate

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Peanut Butter Cookies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Peanut Butter Cookies and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and peanut butter cookies

Before you even consider the fact that I stuffed my face yesterday with all manner of wonderful foods, I’ve been in a really, really sugar-focused mood lately. Like, give me cookies or give me death! (Although, to be honest, I’d also accept brownies.) And since one of my co-workers was celebrating the big 4-0 and specifically requested peanut butter cookies, I decided to double the recipe and treat myself.

The recipe that I’ve used for ages, from Land o’ Lakes, is great, but since aging into the next phase of my metabolism, I’ve modified it to include a bit of whole wheat pastry flour (health, am I right?). Then, I threw some chocolate ganache on it for kicks. And elegance. You know what I mean. Anyway, peanut butter cookies!

I finally finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks while I was eating raw cookie dough, and it was quite a read. So emotional, informative, and well-written. Check out the review, grab another cookie, and get reading.

And speaking of cookies, am I the only one interested in doing an old-fashioned cookie exchange? You know, the ones where everyone brings a bunch of cookies and then you take home a nice box of every kind of cookie you can imagine. Does this not sound like best party you’d ever go to? Okay, so let me know if you want in. I’m doing two this year: one in Chicago and one around the country. One in person, one not. YOU CAN PARTICIPATE NO MATTER WHAT. It’s amazing.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Uhm, yeah, with chocolate ganache.

Listen, I love a good cookie. And peanut butter cookies? Even better. Throw some ganache on there (artistically of course)? The best. This recipe is taken from Land o’ Lakes, who insists that you should use LOL butter and eggs. I really don’t care.

Servings: 10-12 (What? I make big cookies, and one serving is, like, three cookies.)
Time: 20 minutes

Grab:

1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of unsalted butter (aka 1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
6 oz of chocolate
2 TBSP of heavy cream

Go:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Get some cookie sheets ready because the rest of this goes fast.

  2. In a mixer, or a bowl and a hand mixer, cream the brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. This usually takes me about three to five minutes.

  3. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until smooth.

  4. Dump all of the dry ingredients in at once, then run for cover when you turn on the mixer. Just kidding! I never do that! Hah!

  5. Scoop cookies out onto a tray, about two tablespoons of dough at a time, roughly an inch apart, then use a fork to make the signature PB cookies mark. (I do this by dipping a fork into sugar, then pressing lightly onto the cookie. Repeat the sugar bath, then press the fork in again, this time perpendicular to the original marks. Voila.)

  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

  7. In the meantime, make the chocolate ganache: zap the chocolate and the cream in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, and stir until smooth. When cookies have cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the ganache over them.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Plot: In the 1950s, a black woman named Henrietta Lacks died when tumors took over her body. Her white doctors harvested her cells, used them to cure diseases and further research, eventually selling them for a profit. Nearly 50 years later, a journalist and her family set out to cement her name in medical history forever.

Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to read this book forever. Pretty much every reader I know has read and loved it, and it’s especially known as a nonfiction book that reads like a compelling, if alarming work of fiction. When I found it at The Strand during our New York City trip, I knew it was a sign. I have yet to watch the movie or miniseries or whatever, and I kind of have no interest in doing so, especially having just finished reading about how her family feels that they were exploited by science as it is.

Verdict: Who knew a book about cells could be so interesting? So emotional? So compelling? Check it out.

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