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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

Yup, it’s true, I’ve been baking. We seem to have a pattern of cool mornings, somewhat humid afternoons and cool evenings. So we can’t complain, considering there have been some Julys when I’d wished I’d pre-ordered the cool head bands for all of us to get us through the summer. I don’t mean cool as in "Whoa, Dude- you are too cool!" I mean cool as in put it in the freezer first and then wear it, kind of like what the guys in Iraq have to wear. But anyway, we just haven’t needed it this summer. Shhh… I don’t want to jinx it!

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

I dusted off my copy of Rosie's Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg and made a batch of the Peanut Butter Cookie dough, but decided I’d take the lazy way out and just mush it onto the deep cookie sheet I have (lined with parchment), making bars out of it. Come to find out that it’s more effort than I thought to massage cookie dough all the way to the far corners of a cookie sheet. I don’t have a rolling pin. But I just tried to meditate my way through it and it eventually happened; this was my activity while watching an episode of "The Love Boat" on Fancast with John. Wow, those were the days… I hear that jingle and I’m instantly transported to the late 70s. How old was I then? About 9 or 10. The Love Boat was the height of glamour to me then, and it’s so wonderfully cheesy to watch it now.

The best part of the bars were the corner pieces- they were more cookie-like, and crunchier. But these were good because they weren’t overly sweet. I used natural peanut butter, no sugar added.

Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Bars (also from Rosie’s)

Why so much peanut butter? Because we’re trying to use up the last of the school-time peanut butter. We bought a lot when it was on sale at Windmill Farms and the use-by date is approaching.

I’m partial to these bars, if given a choice between the two. The chocolate gives it that extra oomph. And instead of chocolate chips, I chopped up a big bar of bittersweet chocolate.

I wanted to make a peach pie out of some of the peaches my mom and Bill gave us from their tree. But John begged me not to; he said they are just so good to simply eat them. They don’t last long here! And my mom just brought over some nectarines; they were gone within minutes. Other treats this summer have been my parents’ homegrown grapes and tomatoes. Our neighborly greenthumbs; it’s truly glorious what B & B (Barbara & Bill) are able to grow. All kinds of guavas, bigger-than-softball cherimoyas, plums, blood oranges, kumquats, apples, persimmons, squash, I could go on :) but anyway…- Oh, and my mom is determined to grow a successful avocado; she has a few young ones settling in now, looking good.

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