While shopping by myself last weekend (a rare treat indeed), the song You Don't Know You're Beautiful by One Direction began playing over the speakers:
Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell,
You don't know [oh oh],
You don't know you're beautiful.
A young girl, about the age of twelve or so, began excitedly declaring: "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I LOVE them SO much! They are so HOT!"
That song evokes some strong feelings from me as well but they are so very different than the overly dramatic romantic fantasies of that pre-adolescent girl. The song reminds me of my baby Emma simply because it was on the radio constantly around the time of her birth. Immediately after delivery, finding myself alone with my brand new baby in my arms, I had the sudden urge to sing to her. So, of course, the first song that pops into my head is whatever the radio has been blaring for the past couple weeks. And at the time of Emma's birth, that song was You Don't Know You're Beautiful. And the song has become a theme song of sorts for her. We all sing it to her: me, Paul, and even little Matthew has been known to sing a line or two to his little sister. And wherever I am, whatever I am doing, if that song should suddenly start to play, I always am transported back to that time, a mere 8 months ago, when I held my baby girl for the first time. And that little baby really does light up my world like nobody else.
Matthew also has a song. And for months and months after his birth, it would bring tears to my eyes each time I heard it. The song is Soul Sister by Train and it was the #1 song in the country when Matthew was born. It played as Paul and I drove Matthew home from the hospital while holding hands and feeling remarkably terrified by the magnitude of our new responsibilities as parents to this little tiny person. I still sing this song to Matthew whenever he needs comforting after whacking his unusually large head against the corner of our table or waking up at night from a bad dream.
Neither song is the conventional lullaby we mothers are supposed to sing for our children like Baby Beluga or Rock-a-Bye Baby (although that one always gave me the creeps what with singing about the cradle falling over and the baby catapulting out), but no matter what kind of day I am having, if either song should suddenly come on the radio, I can't help but peek in my rearview mirror at my two little angels in the backseat and feel so incredibly blessed.
The recipe I am sharing today is the very first cookie we made as part of our Christmas baking fest: Peanut butter cookies! And not just any peanut butter cookies. These are the BEST peanut butter cookies out there. They are soft, moist, and full of peanutty (is that a word?) flavor. I found these while perusing through The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. While I wanted to make pretty much EVERYTHING in that cookbook, the first recipe I decided to try were these cookies. And I am so glad I did. I am normally not a big fan of peanut butter cookies since I think they usually end up tasting incredibly dry. Not these. Plus, you get a double-dose of peanut butter flavor from the addition of both peanut butter chips and crunchy peanut butter. I only wish I had had this recipe while I was pregnant with Emma and craving peanut butter like a madwoman. If you or someone you love is a peanut butter lover, this recipe will not disappoint!
The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for rolling)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly, starting at low speed and working up to medium-high. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Place the 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of cookie dough into the sugar and roll to coat. Place onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between. Gently press the top of each cookie with your thumb to slightly flatten.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do NOT overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone...but have no fear, this makes them extra delicious. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then carefully remove to a rack to cool completely.