A baker extraordinaire, 75-year-old Ann Jaskinia credits her culinary skills to helping her mother in the kitchen. “When I turned 16, it became my job to do the weekend baking,” she explains.
In 1990, she became hooked on placing multiple entries at the Maryland State Fair. Years spent experimenting with and modifying recipes from innumerable cookbooks led to the creation of her award-winning peanut butter cookie. Her husband’s colleagues sample each entry Jaskinia prepares, and they deemed the sweet treat a keeper. “They loved the texture and extra crunchiness,” she says.
Baking is “a lot of work,” she admits, “but it’s fun. It makes me feel good, like I’ve truly accomplished something.”
Ann Jaskinia’s Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes four dozen cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup JIF crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar and softened butter or margarine. Beat until light and fluffy.
Add peanut butter, peanuts, vanilla, and egg; blend well. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mixwell.
Shape the cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With a fork dipped in sugar, flatten balls in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake 6 to 9 minutes or until set. Cookies should appear golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.