Sometimes, living alone is a challenge. For instance, it’s hard to cook for one person and there’s no one to trick into doing the dishes or folding the laundry (my cats have, thus far, proven to be terrible maids). If, like me, you’re a single, shall we say far-from-strong woman, it’s even harder. Large grocery trips can be sweat-inducing and every year, some time in mid-May, installing my window unit AC makes me see God. More often than not, though, living alone makes me feel self sufficient and proud, because all those things that are challenges or dude tasks? Well I can do those, without help.
I’ve never been one to act the damsel in distress and honestly, I get annoyed easily with women who do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m weak and I let it be known. If I need help, I ask for it! There are some things I just cannot lift and my computer stumps me, often. But the things that women act all helpless over….the bugs and the tech stuff and the home improvement. Get a grip, I want to say. You’re an adult, figure out how to do it yourself. That cockroach? He’s gross, but he’s not going to gnaw on your toes or anything. That Ikea furniture? It comes with directions. Don’t want to damage those wood floors, but too weak to move that thing? A towel or sheet makes an awesome gliding pad. Really, if you think through something, you can figure it out almost any time, so why always rely on men, or other people in general to do it for you?
One of my favorite I-am-woman-hear-me-roar moments involved me and a full-sized couch. A full-sized couch that needed to get from my 7th-floor apartment to the curb below. I could have asked a friend to come help me, but I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I wrastled that furniture out of my apartment and out to the curb all by my weakling self. Who needs muscles?! Who needs boys! I have this! Admittedly there were some sketchy moments making the tight right turn out of the apartment and down the hallway (I had to up-end the thing and flip it over-I enjoyed the puzzle) and then getting into the elevator (again, on end, thank God I’m tall and have leverage), but it worked, I did it…with minimal cursing. And then I poured myself a glass of wine and celebrated my awesomeness.
This weekend I had one of those days that made me feel oh-so independent. Aside from moving furniture, the task that makes me feel the most self-sufficient is assembling furniture. In college, I was always the roommate that was called for that task, since I follow directions like a champ. I was also the bug-killing roommate, but that’s neither here nor there. This weekend, not only did I manage to get a heavy piece of furniture from outer queens back to my apartment (there was a little heavy lifting, but the trickiest part was dealing with the crabby cab driver), but I assembled it (perfectly, imho), removed the previous furniture (I think I have a new career), AND managed to rewire my electronics correctly on the first try. THE FIRST TRY! Cable, DVD player, wireless internet AND sound system worked ON THE FIRST TRY. Whatever dudes, that may not sound that impressive to you, but for me, it was yet another self-affirming moment. Why do women act so helpless? We can do anything! I deserved rewards (note the plural). These (and some wine) were them.
In order of LOVE, my favorite batters (to eat, duh) are as follows: 1. oatmeal cookie dough; 2. banana bread batter; and 3. poppyseed bread batter. I’m putty in the palms of oatmeal cookie batter. Or, more accurately, oatmeal cookie batter DOOMED in my presence. I very nearly feel the same way about peanut butter, so when these pretty things popped up on Joy the Baker a little while back, I knew they’d be mine. What better reward for my radness than a mashup of two of my favorite things? Oh these are good. They’re exactly how you think they are: slightly soft, slightly spiced, tiny oatmeal cookies, pressed around smooth, sweet, salty peanut butter filling. In a word, they’re perfect. After a day of manual labor, they’re particularly perfect with some red wine and a self-applied manicure. You know, just to remind me what a girly girl I actually am.
Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
From Joy the Baker. Makes about 24 sandwiches.
As a general rule, I eat natural peanut butter, but use the fakey stuff (Jiff, etc) for baked goods. Joy’s pics look like she used natural PB, but I got nervous about consistency so I stuck with the fakey stuff. I only added 2 T milk to the filling, since it annoys me when a filling is so soft that it all oozes out the sandwich cookie on the first bite. That said, If you want a looser, creamier filling, go ahead and add more milk.
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 lg egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/4 c uncooked oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
3 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
1 c powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
- Heat the oven to 350°F and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy (~3-4 min)
- Add the egg, beat until smooth, then add the vanilla and beat until smooth
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients except the pecans
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on low until just mixed. Add the pecans and stir with a wooden spoon until combined
- Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon of dough into your hand and roll into a ball and place on one of the cookie sheet about 1 1/2″ apart (I know, they seem tiny, but they will spread!). Repeat with all the dough. As it warms, it will get sticky. If it gets too sticky to deal with, throw it in the fridge for a minute before continuing
- Bake for 10 minutes, let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool
- In a medium bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter and powdered sugar, and beat with an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer) until smooth
- Add the milk, 1 T at a time, until the filling reaches your desired consistency
- When the cookies are cool, turn half of them over (count!) and spread them with peanut butter filling
- Top each with another cookie (try to match the sizes)
- Wrap individually and store in the refrigerator (Joy says they’ll last 5 days this way)