So, I wasn't actually alive in 1950, but if I had been, I can tell you what cookie I would have been eating: the Salted Peanut Crisp. According to my favorite source for all things cookie, the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book , this cookie was in high demand mid-century. As the recipe introduction notes,
Cookies Please the Younger Set -- The baby boom, begun following World War II, continues in the new decade. With "kids" in the house, cookies disappear like magic and "moms" need quick and easy cookies like this one.
Now, perhaps it's not so unexpected that recipes containing peanuts in general were rising in popularity during this time--during the war, when meat shortages were common, peanuts and peanut butter became a much valued source of inexpensive protein. Of course, after becoming hooked on its deliciousness, peanut butter sandwiches were to become an enduring staple in lunches everywhere, and the cookies and confections containing the rich, flavorful stuff were here to stay.
And to that point, as is further noted in the recipe intro,
One of our home testers wrote, "My 12-year old son carried them out by the handful." "Only modesty prevents me from calling them perfect plus," said another tester.
And you know what? Over 50 years later, I concur. Of course, I made a couple small alterations in the recipe to better suit them for modern times--first, where the original calls for 2 cups of salted peanuts, I did about 1 cup salted peanuts and 1 cup peanut butter; this gave them a nice density and chewiness. Second, instead of dropping the dough on the cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls, I went ahead and used an ice cream scoop--so instead of 6 dozen small cookies, I got about 2 dozen jumbo cookies, some of which I stuffed with mini peanut butter cups inside the dough for an even more decadent outcome. And it turns out that bigger and more decadent is even better: these cookies managed to turn at least one peanut butter cookie hater into a believer, and I hear that they even derailed an Atkins Diet follower. Yes!
Here's the recipe:
Salted Peanut Butter Crisps
(Note: Though they are officially "Salted Peanut Crisps", since I added peanut butter too I have taken liberties)
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 1 cup peanut butter
(Note: original recipe calls for 2 cups salted peanuts and no peanut butter; feel free to play with the ratios)
- Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment; put to the side.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F (original recipe calls for 375 but I found a longer bake at the lower temperature worked better, possibly because I made my cookies bigger).
- Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
- Sift flour and blend with soda and salt; stir in with wet ingredients. Mix in peanuts and peanut butter.
- Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop the dough and release onto your prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. If desired, place a mini peanut butter cup in the center of the dough while it is still in the scoop, shaping the dough around it so that the dough fully covers the candy before releasing it on to the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges (if you make your cookies smaller, it may be more like 8-10 minutes).