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Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are good. Very good, as a matter of fact. Though I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost every single day that I took a bag lunch to school (K-12), I did not often have peanut butter cookies. Thinking about the reasons why this may have been, it occurs to me that perhaps the fact that we had peanut butter in the house did not mean that we had extra peanut butter in the house; we had peanut butter because we used it to make my sandwiches. One day, it occured to me that there were possibilities other than sandwiches. I set about to make peanut butter cookies.
I have no idea how old I was at the time, but things went smoothly until I had the balls of dough laid out on the baking sheets. Then disaster struck. “Disaster”, I should say. I knew that I was supposed to mark the cookies with a fork. I got the fork and began pressing crosses in the tops. Unfortunately, the fork stuck like crazy and my cookies got uglier and uglier as I became more and more frustrated. I was probably 9 and, yes, ugly cookies are a disaster at that age. I assume that I went ahead and baked the cookies anyway, though after that I always shied away from making peanut butter cookies.
I think that when I was in college a friend told me that all I had to do was wet the fork with water to keep it from sticking. Shocking, I know.
I am proud to report that I am no longer wary of baking up a batch of peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

adapted from Joy of Baking

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg. Add vanilla and peanut butter and beat well. Add in dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet.

Using a fork, mark grids on the top of each cookie, dipping the fork in water after each cookie.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, until just beginning to brown on the edges.

Cool on wire rack.

Note: I use natural, salted peanut butter. You get a more buttery cookie by using the natural peanut butter, since it doesn’t have all that extra sugar. The cookie will also be more brittle/crumbly if you use processed peanut butter, so I would recommend adding an extra tablespoon of butter.

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  • McAuliflower
    February 18, 2006

    glad i found these Nic- you’re becoming my online Julia Childs!

  • McAuliflower
    October 17, 2006

    So funny… here I am over a year later thinking the same thing I commented on then!

    Thanks for all your blogging Nic- you really are a resource to me 🙂

    Now- off to make those cookies… again 🙂

  • lel
    July 16, 2008

    Are you sure that baking soda is the right leavening here? I would have thought baking POWDER since there is no obvious acidic ingredient to activate soda.

  • Nicole
    July 16, 2008

    Lel – Yes, I’m quite sure it’s the right leavening agent for these cookies.

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