Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies, Perfected

In my family, there is one cookie that I make more than anything else in the kitchen. When I'm home, I'd hazard to guess that I make peanut butter cookies at least twice a month. I make these cookies for my stepfather, because they are his absolute favorite cookie. It's sort of nice, because every birthday, Christmas, and Father's Day, I always know at least one of my gifts to him will be: a nice, big batch of peanut butter cookies.

And this Father's Day, I'm proud to say that through many many many batches of peanut butter cookies I've made over the years, I've finally perfected the recipe. Every time I make the cookies, I make some changes to see what will happen (I'm not one who likes repetitiveness in baking, so tinkering with the recipe a little bit keeps me sane).

Before my changes, the cookies often came out hard and crunchy - a texture that I definitely don't approve of for most cookies. But now, ahhh but now... they have a wonderful, crumbly, buttery crunch, and each bite has a peanut buttery richness to it that I just couldn't achieve with the original recipe.

So here is the recipe that has been years in the making. Just... don't tell my stepfather I made changes, because he's a die-hard fan of using the original recipe from Joy of Cooking. We actually keep a dreadfully old, falling apart edition of the book (even though we have a clean, new version), because he says that it's the only recipe worth making. One of these days I'll just cut the recipe out and recycle the rest of the tattered pages, but until then, I'll continue to turn to page 658 (a page known by heart) and make my mental modifications, which I will put into writing here.

Print This Recipe!

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 cup peanut butter (try to get unnatural stuff like Skippy. The added sugar and the homogenized consistency helps it turn into a better cookie!) 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to375 F.
2. Sift brown sugar and white sugar. Beat butter in a large bowl until soft. Add sugars until mixture is creamy. Beat in egg, peanut butter, salt, and baking soda. Add sifted flour and vanilla..
3. Roll dough into large balls (about 2 inches). Place on a greased cookie sheet and press balls flat with a fork. (The larger cookie size helps the texture to be softer, so don't make smaller cookies unless you want crunchy cookies. I usually get around 20 large cookies from the 2-inch balls)
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly golden brown around the edges.

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