Sunday, September 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies and Glass of Milk on Black Acrylic

Great for School Lunches and Afternoon Snacks

In the US, tomorrow is Labor Day — which means the school year has arrived.  So it’s time to start planning lunches and thinking about after-school treats.

Most kids love peanut butter (although a few are allergic; see Notes for more info).  And because PB has so much flavor on its own, this is one cookie you don’t have to over-sweeten.  So, while peanut butter cookies can’t claim to be a health food, they are actually one of the more nutritious treats you can provide.  And homemade is tons better than anything you can buy in a store.

How about the adults in your household?  Well, let’s just say that peanut butter cookies bring out the kid in them.



Peanut Butter Cookies on Napkin with Glass of Milk, Overhead View

Recipe:  Peanut Butter Cookies

Most peanut butter cookie recipes are pretty similar.  The major divide is thin-and-crisp versus plump-and-chewy.  Today we’re going for thin and crisp.  These are particularly suitable for dunking in milk or tea.

Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the baking whiz in our household, and these are her creation.  She has long liked the recipe in our ancient copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, and her recipe is adapted from that.

This recipe yields about 4 dozen cookies. You can easily double it if you want more. The recipe requires about 20 minutes to mix, plus baking time. These cookies store well in an airtight container and you can freeze them.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ pound unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (we prefer chunky; see Notes)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (consider using pasteurized; see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (see Notes)
Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt); whisk for at least 30 seconds to combine (you want to make sure the baking soda and salt are thoroughly distributed).
  3. Cream the butter and peanut butter together (it’s easiest in a stand mixer, but you can use a bowl and wooden spoon).
  4. Beat in the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar.  Then add the egg and vanilla, and beat well to mix.
  5. Add flour mixture to the butter and peanut butter mixture, and mix thoroughly to combine.
  6. Prepare your cookie sheets.  You can line them with a silicone baking mat; or grease with butter or shortening; or use a baking spray (see Notes).
  7. Use a teaspoon to scoop cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing scoops of dough about 1½ inches apart.  Press flat with the back of a spoon, or make a nice pattern using the tines of a fork.
  8. Bake until firm, about 7 to 9 minutes.
Peanut Butter Cookies on Napkin with Glass of Milk

Notes
  • You can use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand.  The cookies will be slightly more salty, but probably not enough to notice.
  • Chunky or smooth peanut butter?  We vote chunky, but use what you like.
  • Peanut butter that contains only peanuts, salt, and peanut oil has much more flavor than brands that contain — among other things — sugar in one form or another (usually high fructose corn syrup).  These cookies are sweet enough already; you don’t need to be adding more sugar.
  • Eggs carry a slight (but real) risk of salmonella.  So I suggest using pasteurized eggs for cookie dough.  Although it’s unlikely that the eggs you buy will be infected, why take the risk?  Especially since most of us can’t make cookies without tasting the raw dough! 
  • You can easily identify pasteurized eggs because they usually have a red “P” stamped on them.
  • Good vanilla extract contains no sugar.  So check the label on yours — you may be surprised at what you see. 
  • You want real (pure) vanilla extract.  Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol for several months.  BTW, the FDA requires that pure vanilla extract contain at least 35% alcohol.
  • If the label doesn’t say “pure,” that means it’s made from synthetic vanilla.  Artificial vanilla is usually derived from the sapwood of several species of conifers — or from coal extracts.  You read that right:  coal!  
  • The flavor of some imitation vanillas can be nasty.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on pure vanilla extract, but getting decent quality does mean spending a bit more for something that’s not loaded with sugar or imitation flavoring.  Do yourself a favor and get the real stuff.
  • You can also use real vanilla beans, but for baking that’s a pain. 
  • Recipes used to call for greasing baking sheets to prevent the cookies from sticking as they baked.  Nowadays, most bakers just line their cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (like the French-made Silpat). Easier, faster, and more effective. 
  • Unfortunately, some people suffer from food allergies, and peanuts are a particular hazard. This allergy is relatively rare, but children seem to suffer from it more than adults. Among particularly susceptible children, simply being near peanut butter — say, sitting next to your child eating his cookie — can cause an allergic reaction. If this is a concern, you may want to serve peanut butter cookies as an afternoon snack rather than packing them in the lunch box. Bummer, but that’s reality. 
  • The good news is that most people don’t suffer this allergic reaction. So take prudent precautions, and enjoy these tasty morsels!
Peanut Butter Cookies on Blue-Checked Napkin

Good to the Last Crumb

“Ummm,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she sampled her baking handiwork.  “These were always a favorite of mine as a kid.”

“Same here,” I replied between bites.  “Chocolate chip cookies too.  And ginger cookies.  And  . . . .”

“Was there any cookie that you didn’t like?” inquired Mrs K R sweetly.

“I guess not,” I admitted, eyeing the last peanut butter cookie on the plate.

Mrs K R reached out and picked it up, my eyes following her hand.  She bit into it, and noticed my stare.  Another bite, and she licked a stray crumb from her lips.  I had to stifle a whimper.  One last bite, and the cookie was — gone.

OK, so maybe that whimper did escape my lips.

She handed me the plate.  “Why don’t you get us another round?  There’s more in the kitchen — I made a double batch.”

Mrs K R — she’s a keeper!

You may also enjoy reading about:
Ultimate Chocolate Brownie
Easy Peach Cobbler
Bread Pudding
Chocolate Drop Cookies
Zabaglione
Root Beer Floats
Cherry Winks Cookies
Pfeffernusse Cookies
Homemade Meringues
Homemade Grenadine
Strawberry Sauce

86 comments:

  1. These look perfect! I LOVE peanut butter cookies, but I haven't made any in the longest time. They definitely bring out the kid in me ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cathleen, I think there are some PB cookies in your very near future. ;-) Aren't they a great cookie? Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  2. Your cookies look simply delicious my friend, these cannot be beat :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi CCU, they're wonderful. No chocolate in them, which I know you think would make them even better, but you could always mix in some chocolate chips. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. I love peanut butter cookies so much! My favorite are PB with Jelly Thumbprints. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi everydaymaven, my mom used to make those! She called them thimble cookies - she used a thimble to make the crater for the jelly. Me? I'm with you - thumbprint all the way! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  4. Peanut butter cookies are on my short list of comfort foods neighboring my moms molasses sugar cookies. YUM! A cold glass of milk and fresh made cookies can't be beat.

    I was pleased to see your post detailing your approach to cooking the perfect boiled egg. It's nice to meet another like minded soul that gets into the details of boiling eggs.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! Have a lovely Labor Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecka, glad you enjoyed the HB egg post, as well as this one. PB cookies are on the short list for a lot of people, I think. Certainly are for me. Thanks for the comment, and I hope you, too, have a great Labor Day.

      Delete
  5. I love peanut butter and am yet to make cookies of it. These looks simple delish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kiran, isn't peanut butter a great flavor? You owe it to yourself to make cookies! And yes, they are delish. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. I love peanut butter and it makes great cookies but unfortunately nut products are banned from our schools which is a shame because I agree, these cookies make a great snack xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hot Spiced, it's such a bummer about allergies - I believe many schools in the US also have banned PB. You can't really blame them - although only a relatively few children have this allergy, for those that do it can be life threatening. Anyway, for those of us that can enjoy nuts, PB cookies are one of the best snacks ever! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  7. The first thing I ever made as a kid was peanut butter cookies. I was an expert at the age of 9. It was the only thing I'd cooked by the time I was 10 because everyone kept asking for my cookies. I haven't made them in years because John's not a peanut butter person but I'm dying for one now. The double batch was a good idea. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maureen, double batches are almost always a good idea. ;-) And you make a good point - these are exceptionally easy to make, and a great project for children. I'm glad to hear you're an expert from way back. Sorry to tempt you so - but you should just give in and make these. You're dying to, I know. BTW, they really freeze well, so the ones you don't eat right away do keep for a bit. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  8. Although, I don't eat anything peanuts (sorry, can't stand the taste of it, and because of me no one in the house likes peanuts either, I guess it's my influence? :) ), I love the story behind it. I always enjoy reading your little conversations with Mrs. KR! When I saw a pink napkin I had a feeling there must be a lady's touch... :) Happy Labor day John and Mrs. KR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marina, actually the napkin was my idea - although Mrs K R does have ideas for photos sometime, most of them come from me. I love color and texture in food photos, so many of the photos have those characteristics. Sorry you can't stand the taste of PB - but if you can't you can't (though you're missing a really good cookie!). The stories are always fun to write. Happy Labor Day to you, too, and thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  9. I saw the recipe title and knew I'd like the cookies but, when I saw your opening photo, I just had to smile. It's those "stripes" on each one. How many times did we come home from school to find Mom waiting for us with a glass of milk and a few peanut butter cookies? Thanks for sharing a great recipe with a side of nostalgia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chicago John, I'm delighted to take you back! And your reaction is really what I was trying to inspire - glad I was successful! PB cookies are one of my all time favorites, and when I was a kid these (or any cookie, really) with a glass of milk was pure bliss. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  10. I have two cookie monsters at home waiting for me to bake and feed them lots of cookies. These delicious PB cookies will be a winner for my family too :D

    Enjoy the rest of your Labour Day holiday :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zoe, bake these and you'll have two happy kids. ;-) Any PB cookie is a winner in my book, although this is a good recipe. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  11. This is certainly good lunch box fare. Not that I have any school age children any more. But I need work morning teas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne, these would be great for your morning teas. You could probably play with them - maybe add a bit of granola? - to make them healthier. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  12. When you said you could always double the recipe, I thought for sure that you were going to say "half" the recipe. 4 dozen is a lot of cookies! However, I could easily eat 4 dozen of these cookies! Love the thin and crispy version! I do agree that homemade PB cookies are the best. I gave up trying to buy PB cookies. They just couldn't match up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, it's the rare recipe that gets halved around here - we always freeze leftovers, and we're lucky enough to be able to give away extras. And I haven't really found a store PB cookie that works, either. Even bakery ones often are kinda blah. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  13. I love a simple and good PB cookies like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Raymund, these have nice, direct flavor which is what I look for in a PB cookie. Good stuff. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  14. Peanut butter cookies are one of favorites too. These look perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Words, of Deliciousness, aren't PB cookies great? This recipe makes one of the nicest thin & crisp cookies I know. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  15. We love peanut butter cookies in our house too! These look especially tasty. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeanne, aren't PB cookies great? We're going to have to make some more! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  16. Oh how I long for the Peanut Butter cookies we use to get with our school lunches. I haven't been able to reproduce them EVER. They weren't the crisp kind though they were more soft and chewy and as I remember a bit greasy because I distinctly remember buying extra in the school cafeteria and wrapping them in a napkin for when I got home from school. I'll have to try Mrs. Kitchen Riff's recipe from Fannie Farmer. I haven't made peanut butter cookies in ages but I know exactly where my favorite recipe is, an old Metropolitan Life Insurance cookbook!!!

    Thanks for sharing and the memories:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Louise, I know the type of soft and chewy PB cookie you mean. I'm not sure we have a really great recipe for that type - I'll have to ask Mrs KR. We both like our cookies on the crisp side, so that's how we usually (but not always) make them. Hope you can recreate your school PB cookies someday! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. LOL! Mrs. Riffs is too good to you, a double batch? You are very lucky to have her:-) Those cookies not only look perfect, but also really delicious:-) My all time favorite cookie is my Grandma's snickerdoodle, but I will never turn down a peanut butter cookie! YUM! Take care, Terra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Terra, Mrs K R is indeed too good to me! Snickerdoodles are good too. And chocolate chip and ... ;-) Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. Hi Jay, yummy and healthy indeed! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. Oh I remember baking out of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook when I was growing up in New England. I also remember going to the Fanny Farmer Store to buy coconut macaroons for my father. What great memories you've just stirred up for me! I wish I had that book today. So happy to have you share this recipe, though! They look addictive! And your photos are just stunning! : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne, those old editions of Fanny Farmer were great! I don't have the current one so I can't judge it, but I've heard it's pretty good. Thanks for the kinds words, and the comment.

      Delete
  20. Those must be very addictive! I cannot resist anything that is made with peanut butter.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosa, they're too addictive! And PB is a real weakness of mine, too. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. a glass of milk and a couple of your cookies would just complete this morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Baker Street, cookies and milk are such a classic combo! Such good stuff. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  22. Saw this post yeterday and STILL cannot get the cookie off my mind, so looks like I will be whipping up a batch today! I love and cherish my Fannie Farmer Baking book. Love. It. Yum. Heading into kitchen now to bake!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly, sorry to get you thinking about PB cookies. ;-) I haven't looked at the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, although I know it's supposed to be excellent (all of the great FF stuff plus some great updates). Hope you enjoy your cookies! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  23. Oh one of my favorite cookies! Peanut butter was one of the best inventions, ever! I get a kick out of the dislike for PB that many Europeans have. But thankfully it's beginning to change, for the better too:) Thanks for sharing the recipe and inspiring me to go bake some.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Spicie Foodie, isn't PB great? It's always puzzled me, too, why some people don't like it, but they just don't. They probably wonder about some of the things I don't like that they do! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  24. i LOVEEEEEE peanut butter. i can eat it with anything... carrots, apples, bread...lol.

    these cookies look awesome! and they would taste even better with a warm glass of cocoa...mmmmmm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi cakewhiz, warm cocoa is an excellent idea! The flavor of chocolate and peanut butter go so well together. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  25. These look great! My nieces would love them, as they are a tab obssessed with peanut butter at the moment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ali, you should probably bake these for your nieces. ;-) PB has good flavor, so I can see why they're obsessed. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  26. I didn't grow up with peanut butter but I came love it. Living in the States and having peanut butter wildly available I buy it now more often than ever!Your cookies look wonderful. I love the pictures! I found you via Javelin Warrior's Cooking, your gratin there is wonderful, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Haniela, welcome! Isn't PB great? Thanks for your kind words, and for taking time to comment.

      Delete
  27. You really can't be a peanut butter cookie when it comes to a treat. I can't name one person I know who would turn one down!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mother Rimmy, I agree - I can't think of anyone I know who doesn't like this. these cookies have such great flavor. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  28. Never met a peanut butter cookie I didn't like. This one looks like a total winner, too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, me neither! And any peanut butter cookie that I have at hand is a winner! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. These cookies look delicious, they are my husband favorites...yum!
    Great pictures and hope you are having a wonderful week :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliana, they're a great cookie! Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

      Delete
  30. I love a good peanut butter cookie and so does my son. This year is his first year to school, and this Momma is broken hearted without her little side kick for the whole day:( but he is loving it and that's what's important. I made these for him for after school since his school is a nut free zone, and he loves them, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alessandra, it seems a lot of schools are banning nuts these days, for understandable reasons. So PB cookies taste all the better as an after school snack! Glad you're son is enjoying school. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  31. My family love anything peanut butter and it is about the time to bake some cookies with it. Peanut butter cookies freeze well, so I better make a whole batch and put a few in kid's lunch boxes. I also prefer to use chunky as well. It adds nice crunchiness to the bite. Thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Holly, PB cookies are great! And they really do freeze well. And isn't chunky the best? Have fun baking! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  32. I have never, ever tried a thin PB cookie--probably because I've always been such a huge fan of fat, thick, chewy cookies--but these would make fantastic dessert toppers for a frozen peanut butter pie. Have I mentioned how unexpected and delightful I find your posts? I love how you draw in your household dialogues--they give your writing a great spark. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi wallflourgirl, using thin PB cookies for dessert toppers is a great idea. I favor the thin cookies, but I could certainly make a case for the plump ones! Thanks both for the comment and the exceptionally kind things you said about the writing. I appreciate that, and I'm glad you find the posts enjoyable. I certainly have a lot of fun writing them!

    ReplyDelete
  34. These cookies look yum! I love the presentation, with a glass of milk on the side. Craving them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Asmita, they're nice cookies - sorry to make you crave them! But they're worth making. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  35. Mmm these look like the ultimate peanut butter cookies! Seriously delicious. It's times like these that I thank my lucky stars I don't have any nut allergies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katherine, they're really good. It must be a bummer to be allergic to nuts. Not only is PB great, but there are so many other terrific nut-based dishes. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  36. Yes, homemade is best. These cookies look scrumptious! A double batch is the way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Biren, these are terrific cookies! Great flavor, and you can always freeze the extras, so a double batch is quite an efficient way to bake them! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  37. As kids, we used to make a peanut butter cookie recipe very similar this one but without the eggs just so we could nibble on cookie dough ;) But they probably didn't turn out nearly as delicious as these look! I'm featuring this post in today's Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thank you so much for keeping me inspired with such delicious creations...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JW, although the risk of a bad egg is pretty slight, these days we're usually using pasteurized eggs when we make cookies because we can't resist the dough either! Thanks for including this in your Food Fetish Friday - I really appreciate that. And thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  38. I definitely prefers thin and crispy texture for almost everything (like pizza, cookies, baked goods...), so this is fabulous! My kids are more into Nutella than PB, but I need to try this recipe - Mrs. Kitchen Riffs' cookies look perfect and you took great pictures of them. :) Team work!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nami, I can go either for the thin or the plump, but Mrs KR really likes the thin, and I think they're quite good. These are worth making sometime - your kids might like a (brief) change! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  39. I think Mrs. KR is a keeper as well. The cookies look and sound delicious. I have to agree with you, I like chunky as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, Mrs KR definitely is a keeper! Great cookies, and chunky PB rules! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  40. I love your wife. She made me think of my mom today. And I needed that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim, sounds like you've had an awful last couple of days. I hope things are looking up (the fact that you're commenting suggests to me they are!). Isn't Mrs K R a keeper? ;-) Thanks for your comment, and feel better.

      Delete
  41. Yum! They look so wonderful and golden. I love that the recipe makes a big batch too - looks like you'd need it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amanda, they were great! And you're right - these cookies go so fast a big batch is a necessity. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  42. Peanut butter anything will have me jumping up and down. I can eat peanut butter by the tub with a spoon and I totally love it in my milk shakes or cookies. This looks so delicious! I bet I can eat a lot of these. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenny, doesn't peanut butter have such tremendous flavor? I can eat it by the spoonful too! I've never had it in a milk shake - I should try that. Sounds wonderful! This is one of those recipes that you should make a double batch of - trust me on this. ;-) Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  43. Oh man, your photos get me every time! If I had a plate of these in front of me, I don't know how I would ever be able to control myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patricia, you sound like a candidate to make a double batch! Thanks for the kind words, and the comment.

      Delete
  44. Mrs. Riff,

    I love the peanut butter cookie! I vote chunky too! This looks absolutely perfect and tasty! And I definitely will go with a double batch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy, isn't chunky the best? And double batches rule! Thanks for your coment.

      Delete