If I could eat only one kind of cookie for the rest of my life, this would be it. These cookies have no pretense, and they are not shy. First and foremost, it’s about the peanut butter. Not in a subtle, ‘hmm, what is that?” way, but in a ‘WE ARE PEANUT BUTTER, HEAR US ROAR’ kind of way. The peanut butter flavor grabs you and hugs you and lets you know that everything will be all right. Too dramatic? Perhaps. But these cookies, man. They get to you. Try one and you will understand, I promise.
Since the peanut butter is the central player here, make sure it’s the good stuff, homemade if at all possible. If you can’t make it yourself, skip the Jif and pass the Skippy. Go straight for that ridiculously expensive jar of natural stuff. If you shop at a supermarket, you won’t find it with the ‘regular’ peanut butter. It will be stashed away in that awkward ‘natural foods’ aisle. (Which, on a side note, is quite an amusing title. The stores are admitting that the food in the rest of the store is unnatural.) I know, I know, $6 for a small jar is practically highway robbery. But trust me, these cookies are worth it. This recipe is not where you want to cut corners. I have also made these with natural almond butter and they were almost as good (as in amazing, but not ultra-amazing).
The other key factor to making these cookies completely awesome is baking time. Cooked to the point of crispness, these cookies will certainly speak to you, but they will not sing. Their ideal state is chewy, with a center that gives at the slightest touch but is not raw, and edges that break but do not shatter. Unlike most cookies, these are best served at room temperature instead of warm. If you do happen to give in to temptation right when they come out of the oven, though, you will surely not be disappointed.
In conclusion, these cookies will sweep you off your feet, and should be eaten with care. A frivolous approach will only end in over-consumption and a tummy ache.
Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Orangette
Makes about 1 dozen 3” cookies
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 rounded tablespoon kosher salt
2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¾ cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cup natural salted creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add the butter and both sugars to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly to incorporate.
Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Scoop the dough onto your cookie sheet. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches of space around each cookie. I used a ¼ cup cookie scoop and was able to comfortably fit 6 cookies on each pan.
Bake each batch for 12-18 minutes. Watch the first round carefully so you can gauge the time for the following batches- you want the cookies to be ever-so-slightly golden but not browned. This will ensure their chewy, rather than crispy, texture. My cookies baked up perfectly in 12 minutes, but every oven is different.
Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. Do not try to transfer them to a cooling rack, they will crumble. (They firm up as they cool.)
As stated in the original recipe, these cookies freeze beautifully. Freeze the scoops of dough on a sheet pan, and then transfer to a bag or container once thoroughly frozen. When you want one, just pop a few directly into the oven. There’s no need to thaw, simply add a few minutes to the baking time. These were my go-to treat when my daughter was born, as I had prepared and frozen them prior to her birth. So convenient!