Peanut Butter Cookies

I recently went to the dentist for the first time in seven years.

You read me right.

And of course I started having a quarter-life/third-life/mid-life crisis while the guy was going through my medical/geographical history. He’s just trying to put together a chart and says, “So, your license says Athens, GA. You’re in Atlanta now. Your insurance is from a Chicago employer. Anywhere else you live?”

I said, “Just spent two years in North Carolina.”

Man was speechless.

He then said, “So why has it been seven years since you’ve seen a dentist?”

I said, “Well, no offense, I’m not exactly a dentist person. Also, my career has come before everything else in my life.”

He said, “For seven years?”

And that was when, honestly, I had to try not to cry. Because the answer is yes. I’ve sacrificed vacations for conferences. Hell, I’m on “break” now and I literally just spent a week visiting collaborators and giving talks at other universities. I’ve had relationships end or never get off the ground because of two-body problems and love of career. The pay (or lack thereof) affects things too and I’ve downsized quite a bit, including most recently selling my car (which was impressive since–also because of my career–I hadn’t really taken care of it and it had two or three recall notices pending).

That’s right. Before getting my car checked out, I would drive to a weekend conference hundreds of miles away. Why? Because giving a 20-minute talk to add one more line to my C.V. to help with the publish-or-perish world that is my life, because getting a few more people informed as to who I am and what I’m doing and where I’m doing it, because hearing what other people are working on and where they’re working on it and what tools they’re using, because catching up with colleagues (who increasingly are my only friends. Career takes precedence over evenings on the town) and because expanding my network were all more important than making sure I wasn’t operating a 3000 pound deathtrap.

No more.

I need to be more selfish. I need to do more things that I find relaxing. And I think this will be very hard for me.

And so, after this dentist fiasco I made peanut butter cookies. Why? Because I actually wanted to. I’ve always loved peanut butter cookies and cooking is relaxing to me. Also, thanks to the dentist, I couldn’t chew foods which had anything resembling texture. Last, there’s the irony of eating cookies after going to a dentist.

These cookies are amazing. My mother thinks they especially go well with morning coffee and a piece of dark chocolate. The dog loves them too. Enjoy!



  • At most one cup of brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • One egg
  • At most one stick of butter
  • One cup peanut butter
  • Flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.
  2. Melt the butter–either on a stove top to brown (which is what you technically “should” do if you have the extra time) or in a microwave.
  3. Combine the butter, vanilla extract, egg, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Add the cup of peanut butter, and then add half a cup of flour at a time until you have the consistency of, well, cookie dough.
  5. Line some cookie trays with parchment paper. Scoop the dough into equal-sized portions on the trays.
  6. Fork the cookies and place them in the oven until done. Depending on the size of your cookies and your oven this can take anywhere from 8-20 minutes. [I made 19 cookies and it took closer to 20 minutes]
    Pre-oven. Note the forking.

    Post oven


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