Monday, October 31, 2011

'Animal style' peanut butter Halloween cookies

I once shared a dorm room during a high school overnight academic program with a girl named 'Taryn.'  Not 'Karen' or 'Tara.'  'Taryn,' like the two names had been smushed together by her parents. Taryn was from a tiny town named Ghent.  She was also one of those people who constantly made me feel inferior, every second I was around her.  Not because she was smart--although she was.  It was her other extracurricular activities, however, that intimidated me.

The first night, Taryn gave me a test that I would be forced to take more than the SATs for many years afterward--The Purity Test.  It was a series of yes or no questions.  A list I cannot reprint on a family blog.

Even though I lied and exaggerated about several of the answers, Taryn was still shocked at my high score. For the next eight weeks, Taryn would regale me with tales of running shoe-optional adventures with her cross-country team--including the coach.  She recounted over and over again what she said was her favorite novel: The Story of O. Even when eating what was, at the time, one of my favorite breakfasts--toast with peanut butter and blood red strawberry jelly--she could ruin my appetite simply telling me an anecdote from her own Story of Taryn, one of which involved white jeans.

The weird thing about Taryn was that none of my guy friends found her particularly sexy. It wasn't just that she was an 88 pound, tiny waif with straight hair she usually wore in a bun, and very conservative clothes (think khakis and pastel sleeveless sweaters).   Even for a sixteen-year-old guy, at some point, when you talk about something enough, eventually your audience's attention starts to glaze over.

That's kind of how I feel about the new trend for 'sexy' Halloween costumes. I am sure that sexy Halloween costumes have been popular in previous years, but this year every Halloween costume website I surf features an entire page devoted solely to sexy Halloween costumes.  Sexy nurse. Sexy cheerleader.  Sexy pirate. Sexy Elmo.

Usually, if you have to advertise something as 'sexy'--it isn't.

My advice--eveb if you want to bring sexy back to Halloween, save the extra cash.  Because the more you advertise you are sexy, the less sexy and more desperate you seem.

Many foods are sexy, but because of its association with childhood, peanut butter, despite its many devotees, is not a sexy food.  However, by making these peanut butter cookies, you will show that even with a glass of milk and cute peanut butter animal cookies in hand, you are still one sexy beast.

Woof! Woof!

Peanut Butter Cookies 'Animal-style'

Makes 24 cookies

From the Joy of Baking--a great, intensely peanut buttery recipe, with more peanut butter per cookie than is traditional


3/4 cup room temperature butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 large, beaten egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt
Candy corn and semi-sweet chocolate chips (for decoration)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two parchment-lined baking sheets. Cream butter and sugars. Fold in egg, vanilla, and peanut butter.

2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Spoon dry into wet mixture until well incorporated.  Form into balls.

4. To make 'cats,' flatten the peanut butter balls and make whiskers with a fork. Pinch 'ears' on the left and right upper corners of the cookie.

5. To make 'dogs,' simply flatten the peanut butter balls and shape into an oval, rather than a circle.

6. To make 'horses,' form two ovals with the ball of dough, stick the 'neck' and 'head' together.

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies will seem slightly underdone after being removed from oven.

8. Press candy corn and chocolate chips into the still-soft cookie, as illustrated above. Remove from baking sheet after 10 minutes and cool thoroughly.

The horse design still needs a bit of work, so here is a bit of inspiration in case you think of a better idea.


  1. These cookies are super cute!

  2. Thank you so much Candy--and so is your blog, incidentally! I love your caramel corn recipe!

  3. These cookies are so creative. Love them. I am over the sexy Halloween. My son wanted me to be Tangled but, all I could find was sexy Tangled. WHY!

  4. @Allison--thank you so much! And sexy Tangled! That is just SO WRONG!

    I just Googled 'Tangled' costume in adult sizes. Oh my! Yes, I don't think I could wear one of those costumes trick-or-treating with kids...especially in a cold climate!

  5. Being a guy, I'm going to steer clear of this one :). Buuuut... love the idea with the cookies, if I wan't so lazy, and cookie scoops so easy, I would try this. Then again, there is really no one to appreciate them, no kids around (not a complaint :)).

  6. @Adam--haha--the double entendre WAS totally intentional--Halloween fun can be appreciated on many levels. But I have to admit--I made these cookies for adults, and they loved them just the same! Sometimes, I have to let my crafting freak flag fly!

    @Blonde Duck--no costumes for Asta, either. I did roast an organic, free-range chicken drumstick for her as a 'treat.' Hopefully, I didn't scar her for life, not dressing her up as a ladybug!