Peanut Butter and Jam After School Cooky Bars

pbj bars

Third grade.

Third grade was walking to school with Anne, April, Nicky, and Jennifer; it was my mom back at work full time. Third grade was Miss Gibson and her flame of red hair, her long nails, her “math minutes,” and a big project on Alaska. And third grade was coming home after school, my parents still at work for a couple hours, and making PB&J cracker towers with my brother, seeing who could make the tallest stack, laughing as we stuffed the crumbling towers into our mouths.

Eli’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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“Mama,” he said quietly, sneaking up behind me, “I want to make a recipe.”

I looked around the kitchen. My dad was messily stirring together a batch of carrot muffins, while Tony was assembling a marinade for the mushrooms we were taking to a barbecue later that day. I had an apricot-upside down cake in the oven and two lined strainers — one of ricotta cheese, one of vanilla ice cream — dripping into bowls. I pictured pouring the whey into the ice cream machine, the unhappy grimaces at sour ice cream, and made a mental note to try not to confuse them.

Eli’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies



By now, I’ve told the story of Eli’s Super Cake at over a dozen events, and hundreds of readers have eaten the cake themselves. More importantly, I have learned that when Eli has a recipe idea, I should just stand back and let him create. He does not approach his baking with the scientific precision of Lisa’s daughter, he just goes for it. And when the batter came together so beautifully, he looked up at me and smiled: “I think I have a knack for this.” I think he really does.