I miss Amelia. I miss her so much. Amelia is the big sister I never had. She fills in all the gaps left by a dramatic teenhood and a funny relationship with my mother. She tells me what I need to hear, and sometimes what I want to hear, but would never sugar-coat something important. She's the only person I know who fully appreciates driving fast down the interstate blasting Bryan Adams ("Summer of 69") and singing along until the third verse at which point we sort of mumble forgotten lyrics (RIP Amelia's car's speakers). She doesn't make fun of me for having too many cats...usually. And she gives the best hugs ever (sorry, Mark). I really miss her.
Amelia moved to Arizona in February, shortly after I moved to Texas. It's great for her - AZ is where her family is, it's her home base, and, as an Army wife and sometimes-single mother (when the hubby is overseas), she needs all the support she can get. But it sucks for me, 'cause it's way farther to her house now than it used to be. You could listen to that Bryan Adams song at least a billion more times.
I love my life here, and as much as I'd like to cut myself in two and have my left hand with Amelia and my right hand with Mark, I hear that science hasn't advanced enough for this to be possible. So I do what I can. I listen to Sunny Day Real Estate and The Appleseed Cast and all that great emo music that was cool before the bad haircuts and black eyeliner of recent years. I keep a loaf of bread she made me in the freezer (we were saving it for sandwiches but then we forgot to get the sandwich meat and then it was Amelia bread so how could I eat it?), I tell anyone who will listen about my fabulous BFF, I chuckle every time I see the flashlight she gave me (inside jokes are awesome), and I bake my little heart out.
Amelia and I both grew up with a love for baking. She is a perfectionist, and rightfully so. I swear, if she weren't such a good Christian who didn't want to show up Jesus, she could make water from wine. She makes the hard stuff look easy. I marvel at the ease with which she makes biscuits - the first time I visited her, last June (it's almost our anniversary), she made me biscuits for breakfast, but had run out of white flour, and used whole wheat. Amelia claims they weren't that great, but I swear, to this day, they are the best biscuits I've ever had.
This winter I was at her house and she pulled from her freezer a bag of rolled peanut butter dough (see how she even plans such simple things ahead? I would never have the patience), and together we made hash marks in them with forks. I told her how this past Christmas, in all the hullabaloo of my mother's baking frenzy (my sister and I counted about 25 different types of cookies that she baked enormous batches of for the neighbors, work, family, etc.) I'd been banned from forking the peanut butter cookies because I wasn't being neat enough. Amelia thought this was funny and told me I did a fine job. So today, as I made peanut butter cookies (an amalgam of several internet recipes, posted below), I couldn't help but to text my best friend and tell her how much I missed her, and her faith in my fork-hashing skills.
In response she called me, my phone showing a silly kissy-face photo of her, blasting a tinny "Summer of 69." She told me she would send me good-hashing vibes, and I guess it worked, 'cause the cookies came out both pretty and delicious. Neither of us really like peanut butter cookies all that much, either. But they're fun to make, and these have extra brown sugar for extra chewiness and pb and chocolate chips for extra yumminess. I know it's summer, but with a little AC, what's turning the oven on, if it reminds you of your dearest amigo?
Amelia-Chip* Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
1 + 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
*No actual Amelias contained in this cookie. Mostly because we like Amelia, but also because Amelia would taste gross, even though she's awesome.
Preheat your oven to 350°. In a medium-sized bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl use an electric mixer (or a really strong hand) to blend the peanut butter and the butter until smooth and creamy. Blend in the sugar, and then add the egg and the water. When thoroughly blended, slowly add the dry ingredients. The dough should be soft but crumbly. Stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips (if you want, Nestle makes some fun "swirl" chocolate chips, including a milk chocolate/peanut butter blend. I used two cups of these instead of one cup of each kind). Using your hands pinch bits of dough from the bowl and form into small 1-2 inch balls. Roll the dough in your palms, but don't over-handle! Set the balls of dough about an inch apart on a non-stick cookie sheet, and using the back of a fork, make hash marks in the dough. This will flatten the dough some, but be aware that they still will spread out by baking! Bake the cookies from 10-15 minutes. Let cool on a drying rack (wax paper on a counter top works just as well) and enjoy with a loved one. Or by yourself. Or send them to your best friend in Arizona (if she likes peanut butter cookies).