Lately, cooking hasn’t been my thang. Since getting pregnant, the fragrances I once enjoyed stirring up in the kitchen are not agreeing with me. However, since I woke up from the first-trimester zombie state, baking has been something I can tolerate.
I think I have hit what they call in the pregnancy world the “nesting phase.” My husband and I have been steadily sorting and throwing out some of the “precious” junk items that we accumulated over the years. This also includes sifting through the giant food collection in our pantry.
I noticed there was a 40 ounce bag of Hershey kisses sitting on the top shelf. For some bizarre reason, my mother sent me these in a care package. I never had a history of liking milk chocolate Hershey kisses. I am a devoted lover of dark chocolate, so it was odd to receive such a huge bag. They must have been on sale and since we got them, the kisses have never been touched.
What to do with a 40 ounce bag of Hershey kisses? Oh, what do we have here… a recipe for Peanut Butter Blossoms??? Luckily, the bag of kisses had not surpassed the expiration date. I can pinpoint the exact moment I first tried these treats. It was just over 7 years ago when I was teaching Kindergarten in Washington DC. That December, a student’s mother made me a box of assorted home-baked cookies, including peanut butter blossoms.
My Filipino-American household was full of delicious home-cooked meals, but home-baked goods rarely made an appearance. I think the closest thing we ever tried came from a refrigerated pack of cookie dough and that only happened once or twice. In the Philippines, my mom didn’t grow up with an oven at home, they were not part of the usual household kitchen items. Imagine, all that tropical heat to bare and more warm air coming out from an oven! I barely recall my mother or grandmother ever using the one in our NYC apartment. Baking was not their thang.This is not to say that I was deprived of cookies when I was young. I had my fill of them when I visited the homes of my classmates. It was just something I never really grew up with.
It wasn’t until my mid 20’s when I started to bake and I have to admit it happened because I was sort of “forced” into the act. Cooking and baking became an important part of my Kindergarten classroom curriculum. Through this process the children were experiencing reading, math, science, art, writing and dramatic play in a fun and creative way. And along the way, I discovered a new interest. I love that saying “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten.” In reliving Kindergarten with my students, I developed a new passion and although it came later in life, I am very thankful. Now, I’ll be one of those mamas with home-baked goods waiting in the cookie jar for little hands to attack!
Peanut Butter Blossoms (adapted from the back of the Hershey Kisses’ 40 ounce bag)
48 Hershey Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
small bowl of granulated sugar or fine brown sugar
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees or 190 celsius
In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter.
Add both the sugars and beat until fluffy.
Add the egg, milk and vanilla, continue to beat well.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Then gradually beat the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Unwrap the Hershey kisses.
After 10 minutes, take out the mixture and shape into 1-inch balls.
Roll in granulated or fine brown sugar.
Place on lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
As soon as the cookie sheet is removed from the oven,
place Hershey kiss into the center of each cookie.
Cookie will likely crack around the edges.
Remove cookie from sheet to a wire rack to cool.