Sunday, March 1, 2009


So people are avoiding peanut butter in jars, even though there is no evidence to show it is contaminated. (It was just the bulk peanut butter sold to institutions, and the paste used by various manufacturers originating in the Blakely, Georgia plant that was believed to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria). But peanut butter manufacturers are losing consumer confidence, and a lot of money. No surprise. I hate to admit this, but at the beginning I was avoiding peanut butter too - just in case. The trouble with a lot of these complicated outbreaks is that the story keeps changing on a daily basis. So what do you do? You play it safe and avoid anything even remotely connected.

A few days ago my 96 year-old neighbor invited us over for some 'moving pictures.' Actually, I hadn't the faintest idea what he meant. I was hoping it was some old pictures of the neighborhood before it know...kind of up-market and cheesy. Anyway, I felt I had to take something over to eat. With only an hour's notice, what could I do? The cupboard was bare. All I had was that half-jar of peanut butter in the frig, some raisins, a can of sweet condensed milk, corn flakes....Eureka! Those peanut butter cookies that my friend Elizabeth taught me to make (before she sad). But what if the people there didn't want to eat anything with peanut butter?

Oh well, I had no choice. Actually it worked out rather well. Except for the fact that the 'moving pictures' turned out to be videos of the most recent performance by his piano students. Too dreadful, but fun in a way. It was like moving back to a by-gone age.

What really annoyed me is that he did not serve the cookies I brought. But I was told afterwards that they were delicious, and everyone in his adoptive (Vietnamese) family loved them. And, as far as I know, no-one became ill. Certainly not my neighbor as he is out there every morning at 7am walking Cinnamon, the dog, and driving the kids to school in his truck. It would take more than a little Salmonella to do him in. It must be all those pomegranates and walnuts he ate when he had the ranch - up until a year ago.

Here is the recipe, with credits to Elizabeth Thomas, a wonderful person, a great foodie and the best dessert-maker I have ever known. May she cook with the angels.

1 can sweetened condensed milk,
40z. cornflakes (4 cups)
4 oz. golden raisins (1 cup)
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

Cream together the peanut butter and condensed milk. Stir in the raisins. Gently mix in the cornflakes. Place the mix in mounds on a cookie sheet, covered with a non-stick flexible baking sheet or on kitchen parchment.

Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes until golden brown and almost set (make sure they don'tq burn underneath). Remove from sheet and set to cool after about one minute. When cool, store in air-tight container. They will keep about a week.

That's it! Easy breezie. About twenty minutes from beginning to end. The kind of instant killer-cookie we love. Number of calories? Don't ask me. I don't want to think about it. Safe? Absolutely!