We are so lucky that friends whom I have known since birth (our parents actually met in birthing classes) recently relocated nearby. Yesterday I hosted a little gathering of our families chock full of laughs, lots of reminiscing, and (of course) food.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to serve so I decided to consult the internet for some whimsical inspiration. Usually I just scroll through my favorite food sites and blogs. This time, however, I took a different approach. I asked the internet if there were any “holidays” on Saturday. (Lately it seems like there is a holiday for every food group. Perhaps I would strike gold with Italian Sub Day, Eggplant Parmesan Day, or maybe Hot Fudge Brownie Sunday Day!) But Saturday was not a food holiday. It was better. It was National Hugging Day! January 21 was chosen as National Hugging Day because it is midway between Christmas and Valentine’s Day when people are at an emotional low. Individuals are awarded each year with the title Most Huggable!
What perfect inspiration for a gathering with people you love! I immediately decided on a meal that would feel like a big warm hug: Pulled pork on fresh rolls piled high with cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and corn bread.
The dessert choice was obvious: Hug cookies! This is a classic Hershey’s recipe. They were little tasty bites of peanut butter and chocolate love. I found the recipe here on my new favorite site Food.com. These are perfect Valentine’s Day cookies, as well.
Peanut Butter Hug Cookies:
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 tablespoons additional sugar
- 48 Hershey’s Hugs (or Kisses)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In mixer, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended; Blend in sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; Beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually mix in peanut butter mixture. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place a Hershey’s Hug (or Kiss) on each cookie and press down slightly.