Right before the holidays, I wrote a story that ran between Christmas and New Year’s about the importance of acknowledging the rituals in our lives.
Jenny Rosenstrach, who founded Dinner: A Love Story, has a new book out called “How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners, and Every Day In Between” (Ballantine, $30), where she encourages readers to treat the everyday rituals with the same intentionality that we do around the holiday.
I really loved her idea of writing a letter to your future self and storing it with the Christmas decorations. I’ve done that on and off over the years but would like to revive it with my kids. We have our own rituals, of course, like going to the Crystal Bridges art museum in Bentonville on the way home from Missouri, but it’s the little rituals around the house that can give a greater sense of peace and comfort throughout the year.
When I was a kid, the most reliable dessert my sister and I would make together — no special occasion or holiday required — were these peanut butter-cocoa-oat cookies. When we made them as kids growing up in Missouri, we just called them no-bake cookies, but Rachel Hollis, blogger behind TheChicSite.com and author of “Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up” (St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99), knew them as Missouri cookies. No matter what they are called, they are easy enough for young cooks who know how to use a stove and tasty enough to snack on all week long.
And if you need any further proof of how good they are, Santa sent me a text after he left our house saying these were the best he’d ever had.
2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Pinch of salt
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large pot, mix the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk over medium-high heat. Stir until the butter is melted. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
Using a medium ice cream scoop or two spoons, portion out the cookie dough into even mounds on the prepared baking sheets. Allow to cool down to room temperature or in the fridge until set. Makes about 24 cookies.
—From “Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up” by Rachel Hollis (St. Martin’s Griffin, $19.99)