The tree above is a tree in my new yard. It is covered in beautiful, white flowers. And if all it did was bloom beautiful, white flowers, I would be happy. But I think it bears fruit. I'm not sure what kind, but this is definitely a bonus. A big, juicy bonus. My stepfather says it's an apricot tree. I'm not sure. Can someone who knows trees tell me?
This is what the blooms look like:
This tree makes me happy. But what doesn't make me happy is what's next to it.
The barn. And although I see potential in this old, rusty structure, right now I want to bang my head against a brick wall because there is so. much. work. ahead.
And I am usually really good about jumping into an undesirable task and just getting it done, but this cleaning out the barn project has been hanging over me for a while now.
And sometimes when I have undesirable tasks hanging over me, I totally avoid them all together and I start looking through my cookbooks to relax my mind. Then I wind up baking something from the cookbooks. Like I did this weekend. I grabbed one of my cookbooks, The Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Cookie Book, and I began to thumb through it and a recipe called Bird's Nests caught my eye. They're basically thumbprint cookies that call for jam, but since everyone uses jam for thumbprints, I wanted to change it up a little. So I picked a filling from my childhood, peanut butter and honey. My sister and I would NOT eat jam or jelly when we were kids, so my mother would mix peanut butter and honey together and spread it on bread. Peanut butter and honey was not yucky.
These cookies are not super sweet, at least not to me. And they do look like little bird's nests. And I was totally going to be all creative and place the cookies in the tree branches of my fruit tree for their photo session, but it started raining, so the kitchen table had to suffice.
Here are my notes:
-The original recipe did not call for vanilla, but I added some and I was glad I did.
-I used chopped peanuts because that's what I had and I knew I wanted to fill with the peanut butter filling. You could use any kind of chopped nut.
-When the cookies came out of the oven, the thumb indentation had puffed a little and closed up slightly, so I took the end of a wooden spoon and gently pressed it in the hole to open it up again.
-I basically eyeballed the measurements of the peanut butter and honey filling. You want the peanut butter to be sweet, but not too runny. I put mine in a plastic bag and piped it into each hole.
-The original recipe does call for a powdered sugar glaze, and I drizzled mine with one too, not really measuring but just adding enough milk to the powdered sugar to make it easy to drizzle.
Peanut Butter and Honey Thumbprint Cookies
(Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Cookie Book)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 cups finely chopped peanuts
1/3 cup peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Milk to make drizzling consistency for glaze
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamed. Beat in egg yolks until mixed. Beat in as much flour as possible by mixer, then mix in the rest by hand if necessary.
Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg whites, then into the chopped peanuts, coating well on all sides. Place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Make an indentation with your thumb in the middle of each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
When cookies come out of oven, insert the end of a wooden spoon into each hole to reshape, if needed. Let cool for 2 minutes on pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Pipe a small dollop of the peanut butter-honey mixture into the centers. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.
Peanut Butter-Honey Filling: Stir together the peanut butter and honey together, using enough honey to make it sweet but not too runny. Place in a freezer bag with the corner cut out to pipe into each hole.
Powdered Sugar Glaze: Stir in just enough milk to the powdered sugar to make it drizzling consistency.