All throughout my childhood, I went to the grocery store with whoever did the shopping. When my nanny, Stella, would do the shopping she would bribe me with the promises of Tootsie Rolls if I was good. A secret treat my mom was not supposed to know about. And a candy I still treat myself to today because it brings me so much nostalgia.
When I went shopping with my mom, most times it was just shopping for fresh vegetables, fruits, and bread – nothing special for me, I was just there to help. But, sometimes my mom would go to the grocery store starving herself – these were the good missions. These were the trips I loved being a part of. She would either open a bag of barbecue potato chips, a package of iced oatmeal cookies, or grab a box of peanut butter cookies from the bakery section and allow us to eat one as we walked around and added things to our cart. I always felt like a rebel, eating food while walking around the store, and somehow it kinda made whatever we were snacking on even better.
My only memories of eating peanut butter cookies are the ones in our County Fair! It was really the only time we got them. The grocery store bakery at County Fair always dusted their peanut butter cookies with sugar. I have adopted this addition, and I do it on all of my peanut butter cookies! I feel this adds a little extra texture to the creaminess and sweetness of the peanut butter cookie, and that the cookie would be completely wrong without it. These peanut butter cookies remind me exactly of the ones I ate on grocery store shopping missions. Get my recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies below.
Tips for Making the Best Peanut Butter Cookies
• Use soft butter. I cannot stress this enough, soft butter is key. I like to leave butter out on the counter overnight so it softens at room temperature, because that is the best way to soften butter – naturally. If you must microwave it, then microwave it for 10 seconds at a time.
• Use dark brown sugar. This is crucial for more flavor and a richer peanut butter cookie. If you have my book, Cookies for Everyone, I have a recipe in there to make your own dark brown sugar.
• Use smooth organic peanut butter. Many recipes will tell you not to use natural peanut butter as it’s “creamier” with the bad stuff. I don’t believe this for a second. You can make anything creamy if you stir it properly. Just make sure you are using a smooth peanut butter and not a crunchy one. I like to use peanut butter with only 2 ingredients – peanuts and sea salt. There are many organic peanut butters on the market with just these 2 ingredients, and they all taste different. Find a peanut butter that you like the flavor of as this is the flavor that your cookies will have. One of my favorite peanut butters is Organic Smuckers.
• It is important to not overmix your peanut butter cookie dough when you are using a natural peanut butter. Because a natural peanut butter can separate, this can also happen with your cookie dough if it’s overmixed. This is difficult to do, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it happen before with staff in the bakery when they legit just forgot they had the mixer going. So, you should not be worried about this, but it’s also a tip to not leave your mixer mixing and walk away from it. Mix your dough until it comes together and there are no chunks of flour and you have a smooth dough, then stop. It’s that simple.
• Make sure to add the dusting of cane sugar on top of your cookies immediately after they come out of the oven. The sugar will stick to the cookies when they are hot, and if you forget this step while they are hot and try to add it when they have already cooled, the sugar will just fall off. It’s the littlest thing, but sometimes the littlest thing can make a huge difference in the recipe! They are not the same without the sugar on top, in my opinion!
Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
142 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) organic all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) organic salted butter, softened
113 grams (1/2 cup) organic cane sugar, plus extra for dusting
113 grams (1/2 cup) packed organic dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
226 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) organic peanut butter
1 organic large egg
1 organic large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, cane sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix on low until combined and there are no chunks of butter.
Add the peanut butter, egg, and egg yolk. Do not mix. Add the flour mixture right on top. Mix on low until combined and you have a smooth dough. Do not over mix.
Using your hands, form the dough into 24 balls and place on prepared cookie sheets. 12 should fit per tray and they should be spaced at least 1-inch apart.
Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until the tops look cracked and set. Sprinkle with cane sugar immediately after coming out of the oven. Allow to cool completely on the cookie sheets.
Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Gluten Free – Replace the all purpose flour with 155 grams (1 cup) organic gluten free flour blend.
High Altitude – Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops look cracked and set.