Chocolate Chip & Peach Cookies

My kids drew things they know I love them more than.

After a parent told me that my empty bulletin boards made the room “look sad,” I had the kids decorate them.

Last Thursday was the 180th school day. My kindergarteners and I celebrated in the most appropriate way we could think of: by watching a Disney movie and eating sprinkle cookies. At 12:30, I hugged each of my kids goodbye, tried not to ugly-cry (at least, not in front of them), and sent them off for summer break.

However, just because my students are on summer break does not mean that I’m done and beach-bound. For the past two days, we teachers have packed up our rooms and stripped the brightly colored decorations off our walls. Our classrooms are huge, empty shells and the whole thing is, frankly, incredibly depressing.

My coworker and friend Lindsay has been using the hashtag “#99daysofsummer” in her Facebook and Instagram posts, so I’ve got to believe that’s how many days we’ve got until we head back to school for pre-planning. And knowing how fast 180 school days went by means that I’ll blink and all 99 summer days will be gone. Since I’m not willing to miss out on pretty much anything, I need to jump start myself. Enter: peaches.

For me, no fruit screams “it’s summer!” louder than a peach. (I know, I know, watermelons, but aside from using them in seed-spitting contests, I’ll pass.) There isn’t a dignified way to eat a whole, ripe peach. Go ahead, try to bite into a really ripe, sweet peach and not have juice drip all over your face and fingers. That mess means summer.

#99daysofsummer. Don’t miss a single one!

Chocolate Chip & Peach Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tbsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh diced peaches
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
2. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add in egg and vanilla and continue beating for 1-2 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Add flour mixture into egg mixture 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as-needed.
6. Add peaches and chocolate chips. Use a spatula to combine.
7. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, scoop dough and roll into 1 1/2″ balls and place on cookie sheet about an inch apart.
8. Bake for around 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Note: because of the moisture of the peaches, cookies with more peach chunks may need to be cooked a bit longer.

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Peach Pie

I am not a morning person. At all. Given the opportunity, I would sleep until 11 am daily and feel absolutely no shame about it. The bedroom I picked in my house, however, makes that pretty much impossible, as the sun streams through the slats in the blinds every morning and heats the room up 5 degrees hotter than anywhere else in the house. When you live in Florida, an extra 5 degrees makes a big difference. Especially if you’re too cheap to turn down the AC.

Most of the baking I do happens in the afternoon or early evening. For example, tonight I made a peach pie for our 4th of July dessert and games celebration that we are (hopefully) having at my sister’s tomorrow night. (I realize that it’s after midnight as I’m writing this, but “tomorrow” is still the 4th to me, regardless of what the posting’s timestamp says.) While processing the pie crust I realized that if I ever do open a bakery, it would either need to be open in the afternoons and evenings or I’d have to find a morning baker. I have no problem being up at 7, but having fresh muffins and other pastries ready to go at 7 am would mean I’d need to be up around 4 am. That just isn’t happening. But, that’s a problem that I can deal with in the future because for now, I am too excited about teaching to give it up. [On a related note, to the new followers of this blog who subscribe for the recipes, the next entry or two will most likely not be related to baking as this blog is my “everything” blog, not specific to any one select type of post. Feel free to read it, but I wouldn’t be offended if you scrolled past it :).]

I’m still not 100% sure why I decided to make a peach pie. I’ve never made one before and I had to learn a lot of new things to make it work (how to ripen peaches more quickly, blanching peaches to peel the skin off easier, etc) but it’s an experiment that people will hopefully enjoy eating!

Peach Pie

for the crust:
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp shortening
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp ice-cold water

for the filling:
8 fresh peaches, peel, pitted and sliced
3/4 c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon

for the topping:
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c quick oats
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour

1. Grease one 9-inch pie pan. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, shortening, butter and salt until chunky. Add water and combine until it’s one big ball in the processor. Roll dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and place into prepared pie pan. Place pan into refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon into a small bowl. Put the peaches into a large bowl and carefully stir the sugar mixture in, coating the fruit. Do not overmix as this will add a LOT of extra liquid (I’ve learned that the hard way with other fruit pies). Carefully pour mixture into the pie pan.
4. To make the topping, cream butter and sugar together, then add in the flour and oats until just combined. You want the mixture to be a bit crumbly. Crumble topping over fruit.
5. Bake for between 50-60 minutes, turning half way through the baking time, until the topping is golden brown.