This peanut butter cookie recipe is from my maternal grandmother. I’m not sure what the name Melrose has to do with the cookie but I can definitely say it had absolutely nothing to do with Melrose Place! As much as my grandmother enjoyed cooking her first love was being an artist.
Gladys Ryan (nee May) was a spirited, 5-foot tall, entrepreneur and in her day, if you weren’t married by the age of 20 you were considered a spinster. My grandmother had other plans to pursue and being a wife wasn’t one of them! Born in 1901, she left Saint John when she finished high school to work in the art department for Jordan Marsh (later converted to Macy’s) in Boston. The artist in her blossomed at Jordan Marsh but after five years she returned home because her father was ill. Driving back must have given Nanny plenty to think about (imagine, she had her own car!). Full of ideas and experience from Jordan Marsh, she opened her own art studio in the wharf (now known as Market Square) where local businesses would commission her to design art work for them. Her biggest client was Scovil Brothers (a department store) where she created drawings of people wearing the latest outfits for their brochures as well as large (2 to 3 feet long) silhouettes of people atop banks of built-in drawers within the store. My grandmother married at the age of 35…well ahead of her time!
I, like a million other kids, grew up on peanut butter. It was a go-to sandwich when the cupboard was getting bare or short on time. Who in North America hasn’t had a PB & J sandwich? I always thought peanut butter came from a nut but in fact the peanut is a legume (edible seeds enclosed in pods)!
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
sea salt for topping
Preheat oven to 350f. In a medium-sized bowl mix flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl beat peanut butter, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Roll into small balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten each ball with the tines of a fork by using a criss-cross pattern. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over cookie dough (optional). Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: The addition of sea salt might seem strange, but it goes well. If you’re not sure, sprinkle only a couple. It helps balance the sweetness of the two sugars but you be the judge. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (if they last that long). Or, pop in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature before serving. Enjoy!