Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nasty Cookies

Sometimes, there are works that speak for themselves. I have a long list of paintings, sculptures and photographs waiting to be used in the blog. I can spend hours just browsing the internet for artists, when I have a word that I wish to express with images. My list grows just like my mood varies on what I want to cook, but sometimes a picture gets straight to publication. This is what happened with this picture of Winslow Homer. I admit that some days ago, I did not know his works, and it's fun to think about how I approached him. 

I recently bought a jar of peanut butter with the idea of doing something with it. Obviously. To eat it with bread is also an option, but this pot is really too generous to be limited to that. The bread reminds me so many images of childhood, when we still had bread and jam for tea, and I wanted something of the same kind to use peanut butter, even if it wasn't French. So I told myself: "I need a simple taste, a recipe found in American culture and where I can include this thick spread". Inevitably, cookies was an easy answer, but I let myself being convinced. 

That's where this picture came in my latest research on American artists. It stretched out his arms like these kids playing in a field. So I wanted to get into my biscuit all the colors of their clothes and the flowers scattered on the foreground. I wanted to prepare something that was ready to end broken just for the pleasure of destruction and then eat crumb by crumb. I wanted a raw batch, without fuss, like a battle of mud. 
This is why cookies come in different forms. I took the dough in my hands, without even forming a ball, and I crashed it on my plate. I pressed a few peanut butter sweets to remind the flowers and I left everything regain its freedom. 

In the end, it tastes so sweet, crunchy outside but so soft inside, and you get this slightly salty taste at the end of the tongue, which is distinctive of the magic ingredient. It's so very generous. You will remember it.

Ingredients for a batch of Nasty Cookies: 
150g flour 
1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 / 2 teaspoon baking soda 
115g salted butter 
50g white sugar 
120g Brown sugar
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I chose it with crumbs) 
60g peanut butter sweets, such as Reese's Pieces
80g unsalted peanuts, toasted (a few minutes spread over a grill plate will do) and roughly smashed 
100g oats or porridge 

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. 
Cut the butter into small cubes, and beat it with both sugars in a bowl until creamy. If you do it by hand, it's easier to soften the butter a little. But do not melt it. 
Break the egg and mix it with butter, then add the vanilla extract. 
Gradually add flour mixture to it, then continue along with the oats. If dough becomes too stiff to work, opt for a wooden spatula. When all is well incorporated, pour the sweets and smashed peanuts. Mix.
Place the dough in the fridge, previously covered with a protective film, then leave it at least 1 / 2 hour. 

Preheat oven to 180 ° C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Take a little dough in your hands and make a ball (or not) by rolling it in the palm of your hand, then laying it on the plate. Slightly press the ball and repeat until the plate is filled. But do not forget to space your cookies at least 4cm. 
Bake 8 to 10 minutes. It's mostly a matter of taste. If you love them very tender, stop cooking when the edges begin to golden, and if you want it crispy, you can wait up to one quarter of an hour. 

Remove them from the plate to cool. These cookies keep well in an airtight container. I do not know exactly how many days, but usually they are eaten before it is too late.

Detail taken from a kid's game, called Snap the Whip and illustrated by Amrecian artist Winslow Homer, 1872. This painting is described as a portrait of American culture, where all children are like multiple facets of its goverment and way of life.

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