Peanut butter cookies are one of those classic types of cookies that have just been around forever. They are easy to make, delicious and fun! Unlike drop cookies, where there is no hands-on fun, peanut butter cookies are great to make with kids. They can get in there and be a part of all the baking fun! Whether you make them stand-alone or with a piece of chocolate in the middle, peanut butter cookies are sure to be a favorite!
Peanut butter cookies are exactly what they sound like - cookies made with peanut butter. They can be made with smooth or crunchy peanut butter, cooked as either a soft or crunchy cookie, and are usually rolled in sugar before being pressed flat with a fork or having a chocolate candy pressed into their centers. While peanut butter itself has been around for centuries, peanut butter cookies were only invented in the last 120 years!
The person who created peanut butter cookies was George Washington Carver. George Washington Carver was in the process of promoting peanuts as a replacement crop for cotton in the south which was being destroyed by boll weevils. As part of his work, he began coming up with all sorts of different uses for peanuts. While he didn't create peanut butter, that honor is believed to belong to the Aztecs, he did create the first 3 recipes for peanut butter cookies using pieces and chunks of peanuts. The first recipe to list peanut butter as a recipe wasn't published until a few years later in 1920!
Here are the ingredients you'll need for peanut butter cookies:
Begin by mixing both types of sugar, the butter, peanut butter, and egg together. Beat until they are smooth then add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Begin until it is all combined together, then you'll want to cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill for two hours. Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle when you have to roll them into balls and then roll them in sugar!
When the two hours are up, pull your cookie dough out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are going to make standard peanut butter cookies you'll want to put about a cup of white sugar in a shallow bowl or dish. Using your hands, roll the cookie dough into balls about the size of a golf ball then roll them in the sugar and set them on the cookie sheet about two inches apart. Using the tines of a fork, press the cookie till it is a nice cookie shape and size with waffle marks on top.
Peanut butter blossoms are the other most common version of peanut butter cookies. You'll prepare them the same way as normal peanut butter cookies: roll them into balls, roll them in the sugar, and then set them on the cookie sheet. However, instead of flattening them a little with the fork, you'll press a chocolate candy into the center of the cookie! The cookie will rise around the base of the candy just a bit and look like a flower!
Peanut butter cookies are known for being a rich and thick cookie. While this is delicious to eat, it's not great for baking. If you don't flatten your peanut butter cookies before you bake them it is very likely that they just won't cook evenly. When cookies don't cook evenly you end up with burnt spots and uncooked spots in the same cookie!
Once your cookies are prepared you'll want to get them right into your preheated oven. Though 375 degrees Fahrenheit is a little hotter than most cookies like, it's perfect for peanut butter cookies. You'll want to bake them for between nine and ten minutes. The edges should be a light golden brown when they are ready. Remove them from the oven and let them rest for five minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely.
Because peanut butter cookies are rich and heavy, you want to let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes away from the heat of the oven before you place them on a wire rack to cool. Allowing them to rest gives the bottoms of the cookie time to set and this prevents them from melting through the bars of your wire cooling rack and getting ruined!
While many people argue over the virtues and vices of smooth and chunky peanut butter, when it comes to peanut butter cookies the answer is entirely up to you. The most important thing to look for when choosing a peanut butter for your cookies isn't whether it's smooth or chunky. No matter what you want a thick peanut butter that is well integrated so that the oils aren't separated from the peanut butter! It's hard to mix the two back together again and if the oil isn't fully absorbed back into the peanut butter before you use it in your cookies it can affect how they turn out!