These are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had. They “melt in your mouth” because of the loads of peanut butter, shortening and powdered sugar. You won’t be able to stop at one!
Dear baking world,
Every baker needs an excellent peanut butter cookie in their repertoire. I mean, nothing is as classic and crowd pleasing as a peanut blossom cookie, right? Right. But sometimes peanut butter cookies are surprisingly flavorless, despite how delicious, wonderful peanut butter is. The worst is when they’re not peanut butter-y enough. So I set out to make an ultra-peanut buttery cookie that blows all of the other recipes out of the water.
I’ve been experimenting with peanut butter cookies for months now. I’ve made the five ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe: it doesn’t have any flour or butter in it. Instead, the peanut butter acts as both the flour and the butter. I like this recipe, but it’s not smooth enough for me. It’s more on the crumbly side. I’ve tweaked a classic, well-rated recipe I found on Google. I upped the amount of peanut butter (because why not), decreased the amount of butter and off I went. I didn’t like them at all. Once again, they were too crumbly.
Thus perfecting the peanut butter cookie was shelved. (Mainly because I was going through jars of peanut butter and that stuff is not cheap!) And then this week, I owed a friend a favor. I asked him what his favorite flavor combination was, and bless his heart, he says, “Chocolate and peanut butter!” I ran through tons of options in my head, until finally I settled on classic peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. Once again, I was conquering the seemingly unconquerable peanut butter cookie recipe. (I have perfectionist tendencies.)
Instead of tackling a recipe on the interwebs, I decided to modify my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’d had great luck adding Nutella to the recipe, so why not peanut butter? Peanut butter is truly magical. It has this amazing quality of acting as both a flour and a fat. As a result, I wouldn’t have to alter any other part of the recipe, because the ratios aren’t affected by the addition of peanut butter. All I would have to decide is how much peanut butter to add. I tried to the recipe twice, once with a half cup of peanut butter and the other with 3/4 cup of peanut butter. My favorite? Definitely more peanut butter. (The more peanut butter, the merrier!) It didn’t make a difference in texture, but they certainly were far more peanut butter-y.
I had a few pre-reqs for this cookie: I wanted it to be soft, with a “melt in your mouth” thing going on; however, I still wanted it to have a nice chew. So began the modifying game. Here’s what I did:
- After a bit of debate, I decided to bake these cookies with bread flour, like my chocolate chip cookie recipe. That would give the chew factor that I wanted. Why? Bread flour has a higher protein content, which means that when you add moisture to it, it forms more gluten networks and thus increases the chew factor. A tip because bread flour does form more gluten and that can be bad: I try to work the dough with my hands to complete mixing to prevent too much gluten formation.
- I substituted all of the granulated sugar for powdered sugar. However, the ratio isn’t 1:1, so I had to do a little bit of weighing and a tiny bit of math. Normally, I put in a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, but I put in 3/4 cup of powdered sugar. It makes these cookies so smooth and soft!
- I used half shortening and half butter. People get very upset about shortening. Some people love it, some people hate it. I tend to really like it in cookie recipes that already had a lot of flavor, such as peanut butter cookies. However, I like the flavor of butter so I kept half butter, half shortening. You won’t regret the shortening! Shortening makes for a very tender, soft cookie. It’s one of my favorite secret weapons.
When I pulled these out of the oven, I immediately took a fork to one of them and ate it. My goodness. I thought that I had baked heaven. The modifications I made yielded exactly what I wanted. These cookies are soft, yet chewy, but somehow they almost melt in your mouth, thanks to the powdered sugar and shortening.
A few things about these cookies so you can successfully bake them!:
- Soften your butter for at least 20 minutes before you bake. The butter will incorporate easier.
- I used Jif creamy peanut butter. I do not recommend using “natural” peanut butter, as much as you healthy foodies want to. The texture simply isn’t the same.
- Leave your eggs out for a half hour at least before you bake. I take mine out in the morning and will bake in the afternoon. It’s much easier to incorporate into the cookie dough.
- Chill the dough for at least an hour. The dough will be a bit crumbly once you chill it, but if you roll it with your hands, it will soften just enough to make a nice ball.
- Use parchment paper or a Silpat. They will bake more evenly!
- Put the traditional fork marks in them after you bake them. I find that works the best.
Now, scamper off to your kitchen to make these! I swear you won’t regret it.
Question: What’s your favorite “type” of peanut butter cookie? Do you like soft or crunchy?
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick butter), softened
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup bread flour (or all-purpose)*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar, for rolling
- Set out the butter and eggs for at least a half hour before baking. This facilitates incorporation.
- In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter, shortening and butter until fully incorporated. You do not want any butter chunks.
- Add the sugar to the peanut butter mixture. Mix on medium-high for two to three minutes. Set aside.
- Add the egg.
- In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together with a fork or a spoon. This helps evenly disperse the baking soda for more even baking.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two increments.
- Only mix until fully incorporated. You do not want to over mix, or you cookies will be chewy. Put the cookie dough into a container and chill for at least an hour. You can chill your cookie dough for up to 48 hours or freeze your cookie dough for up to 2 months.
- When you’re ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure out some granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll the cookie dough into about an ounce size balls. Roll in the sugar.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies have a tiny bit of brown on the top. Remove from the oven and use a fork to make the signature pound sign. Enjoy!