Though I’ve never quite been one of those people who secretly love to dig a spoon down into a container of peanut butter and savor it just like that, I do have a very soft spot in my heart for this uniquely American spread. And sometimes there is simply nothing that hits the spot more than a warm, almost-falling-apart peanut butter cookie—crusty with sugar on the outside and gooey tender on the inside, topped with those kitschy but oh-so necessary crosshatches—and a tall glass of ice cold milk.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
- ½ cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
- ¾ cup sugar plus extra for rolling
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup peanut butter*
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Granulated sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, peanut butter and the vanilla and stir until evenly combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt and stir together until thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until everything has been incorporated. Cover and chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes or so, until it’s firm. Using a small ice cream scoop or two teaspoons, scoop up portions of dough and roll each into a ball, then roll the cookies in extra granulated sugar before placing on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Using a fork, carefully press down the surface of each cookie to leave impressons of the tines first one direction, then perpendicularly. Bake the cookies in a preheated 375° oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing them to wire racks to continue to cool.
*Natural peanut butters without any stabilizers or trans-fats (such as hydrogenated oils) perform best for baking… and are just better for you in general, now that you mention it. Though peanut butter cookies are traditionally made with creamy peanut butter, feel free to substitute crunchy peanut butter for a fun change of texture!
When decorating the cookies with the traditional hatchmarks of the fork, if the fork is sticking to the dough, spray the tines with nonstick cooking spray before pressing into the cookie. Alternatively, dip the fork into the extra granulated sugar before pressing down onto the surface of the cookie.