I love summer in the early morning, when the streets of Brooklyn are still quiet but for the bustle of shopkeepers and the ragged breath of joggers as they hurry past. The sky is a pale blue tinged with green and gold, and the air is both light and laden with promise and the scent of flowers in bloom.
I love summer when I’m standing at my counter, in shorts and an old t-shirt, barefoot, tossing strawberries and rhubarb with sugar and lemon zest for a tart, and across the room the door to the backyard is open and my cat is lying on her side on the patio, basking in the sun.
I love summer when I’m perched on my stoop, sticky with sweat after a long bike ride, eating ice cream (mint chocolate chip in a sugar cone, please) and listening to snippets of the conversations of passers by.
I love summer when I’m sitting on the couch with my dad, drinking lemonade and watching baseball, yelling at the TV when the Mets do something stupid (which is most of the time), clapping and shouting enthusiastically when they finally get something right.
I love summer in the early evening when the setting sun repaints my backyard in shades of pink and gold, and we sit on the patio with the umbrella up and vegetables on the grill, watching for the very first firefly to light up the darkness that’s to come.
I love summer when I’m sprawled out on bed, window open wide to catch the sounds of cicadas and late night traffic and boats in New York Harbor, limbs heavy and soft from a day in the sun and skin still tinged with the faintest scent of sunscreen.
But most of all, I love summer afternoons when I’m lying in the grass in my backyard, listening to Joni Mitchell on the radio, with a glass of water, a cookie, and a great book in my hand.
Look at my mom's pretty peonies!
Today that book was Sense and Sensibility (my favorite of Jane Austen’s; I’ve read it about five thousand times) and the cookie was peanut butter. It was sheer bliss.
These peanut butter cookies are delicious—dense and crumbly, crisp at the edges but still soft in the center, with lots of butter and just a hint of cinnamon. They go perfectly with Jane Austen and a summer afternoon.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 ¾ cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter (because the oil in natural peanut butters tends to separate out, use a generic, non-organic brand)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two large cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar till light and fluffy. Mix in egg, then dry ingredients.
Roll the cookies into tablespoon sized balls and create the checkered pattern by pressing into them with the tines of a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and browned at the edges.