When it comes to the classics (peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, etc.), I feel like we all have a story.
One of my first baking memories, I was no more than 5 years old, and I got to bake with my cooler older cousins. We decided to make peanut butter blossom cookies, the ones with the little Hershey Kiss on top that you get to push into the freshly baked cookies. After the harrowing task of waiting for our cookies to cool, I remember pulling out the chocolate kiss so I could get more of that peanut butter cookie flavor.
From that point on, I have loved a good peanut butter cookie. Taking it upon myself (selfless, I know) to test different versions of peanut butter cookies over the years.
There’s just something about the sweet, salty, crunchy, chewiness of a classic peanut butter cookie.
Ingredients you will need:
- Peanut Butter: the star of the event. This recipe uses classic creamy peanut butter (i.e., Brands like Jif or Skippy). More on this in the next section.
- Butter: gives depth to the peanut butter flavor and helps tenderize our cookie
- Sugar: to help give us a soft and chewier cookie, a combo of 75% light brown sugar and 25% granulated sugar is used.
- Egg + egg yolk: binds everything together and helps create a less dense and chewier cookie.
- Flour: all-purpose flour is used to help give the cookie structure.
- Leavening: a combination of baking soda and baking powder to help create a fluffier cookie and assist in browning the cookie
- Salt: Don’t you think salted peanuts taste way better than unsalted? That’s because salt naturally enhances flavors.
- Peanuts: this is optional but highly recommend. It helps with the overall peanut flavor and gives a nice crunchy texture that compliments the soft cookie.
- Almond Extract: since we are already using flavors in the nut family, almond extract develops flavor even more.
What is the best peanut butter for cookies
When it comes to making delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my house predominately uses "natural" peanut butter (peanut butter made with just peanuts and salt).
But when it comes to baking, conventional or “processed” creamy peanut butter, like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan, is the way to go. They may not always be as healthy, but life is about moderation anyway.
Natural peanut butter tends not to have a stabilizer in them like conventional peanut butter brands. Without a stabilizer, the oil that is in the natural peanut butter tends to separate. Ultimately, this can cause your dough to thin and impact the way that it bakes. The less your peanut butter separates, the more stable your cookie will be.
How to make peanut butter cookies
Just a few steps and you will be basking in your own peanut butter cookie glory.
- Whisk dry ingredients: aerate those bad boys to make sure they are thoroughly combined.
- Cream butter and sugars: butter should be softened but not melted. A good way to tell is if you can indent the butter, but it is not squishy. Cream butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes. You'll know that you mixed long enough when it looks pale in color.
- Add in peanut butter: thoroughly mix the peanut butter and sugar mixture. We want to make sure they are well combined for optimal peanut butter goodness.
- Beat in eggs and almond extract. A good rule of thumb to not overmix is to incorporate eggs one at a time.
- Mix in dry ingredients: if you are using a stand or hand mixer, do this at a slow speed. You don’t want to be cleaning up flour for a week, and it also helps it from over mixing.
- Add in chopped peanuts: these are optional, but they definitely give the cookie a much better texture. They also play a role in how much the cookie spreads, so if you decide to omit them, make sure to give a little more spacing when placing them on the cookie sheet.
- Scoop dough and roll dough into balls: I like to use a cookie scoop, but you can you whatever you have on hand. Scoop out 1.5 oz (about 2 tablespoons) of dough and roll them into balls.
- Ident cookies with a fork: what’s with the criss-cross on peanut butter cookies anyway? “Because my grandma did it that way!” Actually, it’s because it helps the peanut butter cookie cook more evenly. You technically don’t have to use a fork at all; you just need to press them down.
- Chill cookies: place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry, but I recommend chilling because the rest time allows the flavors to develop a bit more.
- Bake: pop your little friends into the oven at 375° for 10 - 12 minutes or until you see the edges brown slightly. For a softer cookie, recommend baking on the lower end, and for a more crunchy cookie, bake on the higher end.
- A little patience: just like 5-year-old me had to wait for those peanut butter blossom cookies to cool, so do you! No, really, it is worth the wait. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes to firm up and move to a cooling rack until completely cool. By doing so, you will have a perfectly crisp edge with a soft and chewy center cookie waiting for you.
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If you end up making and enjoy these classic peanut butter cookies, please consider tagging @nightowlsbakingco on Instagram and leaving a review below.