Not all peanut butter cookies have a strong peanut flavor to them. In fact, many don’t use all that much peanut butter in them to begin with. I usually make up for this by choosing a brand of peanut butter that I think has a good flavor, or by using crunchy peanut butter to add more obvious nuts to the cookies. This recipe is a little bit different because, while it uses more peanut butter than many recipes, it also uses less sugar, so that salty-sweet peanut flavor is more pronounced.
The reason that these cookies use less sugar is that they get a lot of their sweetness from honey, which is incorporated into the recipe in addition to some sugar. The honey is a great match for the peanut butter and, while it doesn’t have a strong flavor in and of itself (assuming you’re using your average clover honey, not something exotic and very strongly flavored!), it does lend a little bit of a floral taste to the cookies that sets the apart.
The cookies have a tender, slightly crumbly texture and a good overall flavor, and are not very sweet compared to most other peanut butter cookies. In fact, as long as your peanut butter has a bit of salt in it, you probably won’t want to add any more to the dough (salt-free peanut butters should add about 1/4 tsp salt). If you want to take the peanut butter and honey theme even further, use Peanut Butter & Honey Jif in this recipe to bring out those honey notes even more – or serve them sandwiching a layer of peanut butter and a splash of honey, like I did!
Honey Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used a national brand)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp honey
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
approx 3 dozen whole peanuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.
In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, butter and brown sugar. Beat in honey, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture.
Drop dough by 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheet. Use a fork that has been lightly moistened with water to press a grid pattern into the top of the cookies and slightly flatten them. Top each with 1 whole peanut.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set and just barely browning around the edges (bottoms will be browned more than the tops).
Allow cookies to cool for 1-2 minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, serve cookies sandwiched with peanut butter and honey.
Makes approx 3 dozen