In retirement, my mom makes Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

My mom rarely baked when I was a child. There was just no time for it, with work, getting her master’s degree at night and raising me. Then she married my stepfather, and they built a house. She was still working. She kept going to school to get more certifications.

Michigan’s economy was in the toilet even then, and the only way Mom could stay employed was to gather as many credentials as she could to teach as many subjects as she could. Her master’s degree is in reading, which I’ve always felt gave me leg up on the world. I could read when I started kindergarten, and by first grade, I was into chapter books. I struggled some with science, but English, history, social studies — any subject that involved a lot of reading was a breeze.

Later, my mom got certified in early childhood education and something else, maybe special education? She said once that during her career she taught every grade and every subject the elementary schools had to offer.

I remember her coming home, making dinner as quickly as she could and then spending the rest of the evening prepping the next day’s lessons. That went on for years because each year, the school district would shuffle her to a new grade as enrollment dropped, grew a bit, dropped, grew, dropped … and on and on.

So, there wasn’t a lot of time for baking. My mom said that each year when the holidays rolled around, someone would bring peanut butter kiss cookies to school. They are just about her favorite, and she always wanted to learn to make them.

Finally, in retirement, she has. A friend gave her the recipe, and when I was visiting recently, we made them together.

I was mixing the dough while she made dinner, and I made a slight screw up. I put baking powder in instead of baking soda. Mom said to start over, but I didn’t feel like it and just kept going. The cookies came out fine. They were slightly fluffier than when made with baking soda, and Mom’s boyfriend said he prefers the fluffier version. Mom likes them denser and is sticking with baking soda. I can go either way since the difference is slight, and really, it’s hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (or baking powder for fluffier version)
1/2 teaspoon salt
30 Hershey’s Kisses

Cream together butter and peanut butter. Mix in sugar and brown sugar.

Add egg, milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt.

Drop dough on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

When cookies come out of the oven, lightly press a Kiss into the top of each one.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.


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