Recipe: Peanut Butter Cookies

Some of the recipes from my 30 year old box of memories I have no idea why I kept! Peach Cobbler? Nothing special. Vanilla Pound Cake? Same as every other pound cake. I suspect some of the recipes were “requested” out of politeness. “Oh my what a delicious offering you have contributed to our pot-luck/event/gathering. Oh yes I would love the recipe..”

And then there are the hand-written scrawls on recipe cards. Stained with the ingredients that went into creating regular patches of the recipe – like this one: Peanut Butter Cookies. This classic recipe (lifted right from the Kraft peanut butter jar!) was made regularly as I was growing up – my family would eat these up almost as fast as they were baked. Add a nice cold glass of milk and childhood heaven is unveiled! I can remember eating these on the porch of the old farmhouse – watching lightening strikes and counting the seconds until we heard the thunder. Flash of light and “one-steamboat, two-steamboat, three-steamboat, four-steamboat, five-steamboat…” Then the crack of thunder rolling over us and we would do the math of 5 steamboats equalling one-mile.

As we grew older this recipe was less in demand, and as we each moved away from home each batch would last a bit longer than the last. Eventually we stopped making these cookies. And when my own kids were in school, peanut butter was the forbidden lunch food. It was even the forbidden breakfast food – for fear that even the essence of peanut butter would place a anaphylactic child at risk.

The one oddity to me in the recipe is it uses margarine. We always ate butter, and mostly cooked with butter – yet I do remember that this recipe was simply not the same with butter. Do feel free to substitute! I suspect the reason margarine worked better is because it was salted – and the butter we bought was unsalted.

So for the brave and the bold – here is the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe of my childhood. These cookies are salty-sweet crunchy bundles of tasty fatty goodness! These are guaranteed to destroy any New Year’s resolutions you have made. Indulge in these on a summer day when it is stormy and count how far way the lightening might be…

1 cup margarine
(you might try salted butter instead)
1 cup peanut butter
(I always preferred using crunchy. A hydrogenated Peanut Butter works better. If you use an “natural” peanut butter you may need slightly more flour.)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until fully blended. Set aside.
2) In a large mixing bowel cream peanut butter, margarine and sugar until well blended and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time until fully mixed. Mix in the vanilla.
3) Now add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture – about half at one time. Quickly mix until flour is fully incorporated.

4) Using a teaspoon scoop up balls of dough and shape into 1-inch balls. Place balls about two inches apart on a non-stick cookie sheet (or line cookie sheet with parchment paper). Now use a fork to gently flatten the cookie dough. Create a criss-cross (hatch) pattern by pressing down one direction and then press down across the fork marks. The fork will leave groves that crisp up as the cookie bakes. Cookies should be about 1/4 inch thick – however you can make them thinner for a crisper/crunchier cookie – just watch the baking time!

5) Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 12 minutes or until golden-brown on the hatch-pattern.

6) Let cool a few minutes before removing from the sheet to a cooling rack. The cookies will be soft at first and so may break if you move them too soon!

7) Optional Fancy steps: Take a whole peanut and press into the middle of each cookie before baking. OR add 1/2 cup small chocolate chips to the cookie dough before shaping and baking.


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