It's a funny thing about peanut butter cookies. I almost despise myself for saying it, but sometimes I actually forget that peanut butter cookies exist.
But then, sooner or later, peanut butter cookies re-enter my life, and I'm all like "oh baby, where have you been?". This leads to a full-fledged love affair with peanut butter cookies wherein I'm eating them every day for two weeks, and then some shiny thing or perhaps a batch of blondies distracts me and I forget about them all over again. Repeat cycle.
When I was recently assigned to make homemade nutter butter cookies for Craftsy.com (recipe coming soon) I spent some time experimenting with peanut butter cookie recipes to use for the sweet sandwiches.
Ultimately, this particular variety of peanut butter cookies spread too much to be ideal for homemade nutter butters, but they had such a perfect taste that I simply had to share the recipe.
The original recipe I started from calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour; I made a slight switch and used 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch. This made the cookies incredibly tender, even while having a crunch to the exterior. It really gave them a unique texture, sort of like a sugar cookie or snickerdoodle, but with a taste that is 100% peanut butter cookie.
Peanut butter cookies have a nostalgic taste for me. They make me ache for other flavors, like milk with ice cubes (something I used to do when I was a kid), or for chocolate, or for strawberry jam. They don't necessarily any of these things, and often I don't add any accompaniment, but they evoke other flavor memories for me, which makes the process of eating a peanut butter cookie thoughtful and sweet.
These aren't necessarily a classic peanut butter cookie, but with the sugar cookie-like texture and peanut buttery flavor, they will taste familiar. I think you'll like them. Give 'em a try!
Tender peanut butter cookies
Makes many - printable version here
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter and Co's The Bee's Knees)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/3 cup or so granulated sugar, for topping
Sift together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set to the side.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high speed.
Stop the mixer, and add the eggs, one at a time, then mixing on low speed, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl of the mixer with each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Stir in the flour mixture in 2 to 3 increments, mixing on low and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until combined and cohesive, but don't over mix. Separate the dough into two rounds, wrap them in plastic wrap, and gently flatten. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight. This will help the flavors come together and minimize spreading as the cookies bake.
When you're ready to go, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone heatproof sheets (I used both sheets twice to bake all the cookies!) Pour the topping sugar into a shallow bowl and have it at the ready.
Work with the dough one round at a time, keeping the second round in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Pinch off about 1 tablespoon's worth of dough, and roll it into a ball. Press one side of the ball into the sugar (it's ok if this slightly flattens it) and place it on the baking sheet, sugar side up. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the cookies 2 inches apart, as they will spread.
Using a fork, press the tines on the top of each cookie both vertically and horizontally, so they have a cross hatch pattern on top. This will flatten the dough a bit more; totally fine.
Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze the cookies for up to 3 months.