Peanut Butter Cookies: The Result of a High-Tech Microwave (3/9)

To me, peanut butter cookies are a cookie with a unique taste, texture and story. Behind their creation lies the perfect blend of peanut butter and sugar, and the pattern on top gives them a special personality, different for each cookie in the batch.

This food appears to be vaguely round. However, because of the cracks the cookies get while cooking, there are indents on the sides of the cookie, similar to a dime. The tops are cracked slightly from the heat, but the fork pattern is still boldly visible. The sugar that was sprinkled on top of the cookies before cooking can still be seen on most of the cookies, yet some of the sugar has stuck together to form little chunks. The cookies are a light brown color, just a little bit lighter than peanut butter. Inside the cracks, the cookies appear to be the same light brown color inside as the outside. The bottoms appear to be ever so slightly darker than the tops, but no where near burnt. The sugar that was left after cooking appears to be sugar-colored still. Since most cookies have a similar brown color, it is difficult to say what exactly a cookie will taste like based on it‘s appearance. However, since these are peanut butter cookies, they have a slightly different color which reminds us of peanut butter, giving us the slightest idea of what the cookies will taste like. Seeing the color of the sugar on tops tells us that they will also be sugary, giving us a unique blend of peanut butter and sugar. Visually the texture looks to be crumbly because of the cracks and possibly grainy because of the sugar on top. However, inside the cracks the cookie appears to be soft and smooth. Significant within the shape is the fork pattern, because it gives the cookie an added aesthetic appeal. The outer surface and the inside appear to be the same color. However, the outside becomes slightly crumbly when cut with a dull object. Apart from crumbling when cut, the aroma the cookie gives off is increased.

The cookies smell very strongly of peanut butter. Before cooking the cookie, the dough smells exactly the same as the finished product. While cooking, the dough smells very sweet as if all you can smell is the sugar, and the heat, which makes the smell slightly more subtle. Depending on which area of the cookie is sampled, the cookie smells differently; the top smells of sugary peanut butter, while the bottom and sides smell like cooked peanut butter and does not smell sweet. It tastes more like peanut butter than it smells, and it tastes less like sugar than it looks, yet overall it is quite sweet, extremely similar to the smell. Also, the cookies, in there current solid state, smell like they will be crispy as opposed to smelling like a mush-ball of dough.

The texture of the cookie has many very different aspects to it. At first, there is a slightly crispy outside layer, and then you bite into a very soft center. While these two textures are very different, the cookies outside and inside layers do not feel extremely different. There is a sort of grainy texture because of the sugar. Also, this grainy texture is caused because of the cookie crumbling on the inside into granules of sugar and peanut butter. The inside has a texture almost exactly that of brown sugar, how it sticks together slightly and falls apart easily when eaten. The fork pattern on the top has gotten crispy enough so that when you bite into a raised part of it, you get an extra little crunch. When held in the mouth, the inside starts to disintegrate first and releases a very sugary sweet juice from the cookie as the outer layer starts to fall apart. The cookie is very moist, even with the crispy outer layer. Once it is chewed it becomes very creamy to swallow.

The cookie is very sweet. However, it is not at all sour, salty or bitter. Umami usually applies to a meat’s creamy goodness, but I think it can apply to the taste of this cookie also, because it’s inside becomes very rich and creamy once it has been in your mouth for five to ten seconds. While the inside looks like brown sugar, the inside also tastes very much like brown sugar, except that  it is not as course as sugar would be, and it tastes slightly sweeter. You can obviously taste the peanut butter very much, however, it is slightly tamed by the sugar, making it even sweeter. I believe the major taste category this cookie relates to the most is sweet. The flavor of the outside layer is exactly the same as the inside of the cookie, except that it is crispier and melts differently in your mouth. The cookie leaves an extremely sugary aftertaste which becomes more like a umami flavor but changes drastically, in a good way, in a minute leaving you to want another bite. The sugar on top of the cookie effects the taste of the cookie by giving it a sweeter taste that distracts from the peanut butter even more.

This cookie does not make any special sound when it sits on a plate, but it crunches in your mouth when you bite into it. The crunch does not make a sound audible to anyone other than you, but it changes the experience and joy you feel from the cookie.

The cookies give a comforting feel while eating them, which I assume is due to the umami creaminess of them. The same creaminess which is found in comfort foods like mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. These feelings persist as long as it takes to chew and swallow the bite and as long as the pleasant aftertaste lasts. This ends up to be about thirty seconds, depending on how long you hold it in you mouth and how little you chew it. The slower you chew it, the more comforting the food seems to be. After eating them however, there is a different feeling. Like with any dessert, there is a guilty feeling about the large amount of sugar and fat you are eating as you ingest the cookie.

This dish is special to me because of the memories it brings back. My family built the house we live in now, entirely on our own, so we bought all new appliances. When we did this we bought the most high-tech microwave we could find. It just so happened that this microwave had no numbers on it, excluding the time, so it took a while to figure out. While we were impressed with it’s claims of cooking an entire chicken in half the time, we weren‘t entirely convinced. So, my dad and I tried making peanut butter cookies in it. They took eight minutes to cook, and they were delicious. This was the first thing we cooked in the fancy microwave, so it became somewhat of a tradition to my father and I. Since then my sister has done multiple how-to presentations in her classes about them and my family’s love for peanut butter has caused us to make them all the time with each other. Mostly cooking the cookies reminds me of these memories, because that was how we spent time with each other, and I remember I loved cooking with my parents, so cooking anything has always brought back good memories.

Every bite of these cookies are satisfying, whether it is the crunchy and sugary outer layer, or the creamy goodness of the inner part of the cookie. Because of this you are tempted to keep eating the cookies. You are tempted also because the aftertaste of the cookie is so much different from the original taste of the cookie. Not different in a bad way, but different so that you want to try more of the cookies to compare the two tastes. The cookies do not automatically melt in your mouth, are not easy to eat without chewing, and are not injected with any sort of filler that makes them easier to melt in your mouth. Therefore, in theory we are not as likely to eat cookie after cookie solely because they are so easy to eat like every other factory made cookie.

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