When you’re talking about cookies, it is often said that using brown sugar will result in a chewier cookie. This is partially true, as brown sugar does have a higher moisture content than regular sugar and that can help a cookie stay more moist – and therefore, chewier. It is not the only thing that can make a cookie chewy, however, as the amount of sugar, number of eggs, amount of butter and/or other fats and ratios of various other ingredients can also come into play. In other words, it helps but it’s not the only way to get there.
This peanut butter cookie happens to use brown sugar and bake up to be nice and chewy. It uses brown sugar to help with the chew and add a little bit of a molasses flavor to the cookies. What really makes them chewy, however, is the baking time and temperature. They are baked at a lower temperature than many other peanut butter cookie recipes (at least, most of those that I make) and are baked until just set, not until browned. The cookies turn out with a nice chew to them. Don’t worry if you overbake them, however, as they shouldn’t turn out hard, though they might be a little on the crisp side.
I used dark brown sugar to get the most molasses flavor into the cookies and a national brand of crunchy peanut butter (Jif extra crunchy). I like the crunch that some pieces of peanut add to the cookies. If you don’t have dark brown sugar, any type of brown sugar is a fine substitution.
Brown Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy, national brand)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg, followed by the vanilla and peanut butter. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until just combined.
Drop rounded spoonfuls – approx 3/4- or 1-inch balls – of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set around the edges but not quite browned. Cool cookies on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes approx 2 1/2 dozen