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Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe & Video

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Americans love peanut butter in their cooking, their candy bars, in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and especially in Peanut Butter Cookies. Of course, that classic crisscross pattern make this cookie instantly recognizable. And that 'sweet and salty' flavor combination make them irresistible. There is even an ongoing debate about whether smooth or crunchy peanut butter make the best cookies. Some say that women and children prefer the smooth type, while men go for crunchy peanut butter.

Jean Anderson tells us in her excellent book The American Century Cookbook, that the first published cookie recipe using peanut butter appeared in 1915. But it wasn't until 1936 that a recipe resembling the peanut butter cookie of today appeared in Ruth Wakefield's book Ruth Wakefield's Toll House Tried and True Recipes.

Peanut butter has been an American favorite ever since its introduction at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Dr. Kellogg is credited with making it popular in the 1890s when, as a vegetarian, he wanted a substitute for what he called "cow's butter". His answer was "nut butters" and since peanuts (really a legume, not a nut) were the cheapest nut, that is the "nut butter" he made. Peanut butter was first touted as a "health" food and recipes for making and using peanut butter were in many vegetarian cookbooks by the early 1900s.

Peanut butter is a smooth paste made from roasted peanuts. The peanuts are ground, and then salt, a sweetener, and sometimes a stabilizer (to keep the oil from separating) are added. There are two types of peanut butter, and the ones that are labeled "Old-Fashioned" or "Natural" do not contain a stabilizer which means the peanut butter will separate and you will have to stir the peanut butter before using.

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Peanut Butter Cookies: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat until well mixed. Beat in the peanut butter. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed. Add the egg and beat to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated. Fold in the chopped peanuts or chocolate chips, if using. (If the batter is too soft to form into balls, place in the refrigerator for about an 30-60 minutes or until firm.)

Roll the batter into 2 inch (5 cm) round balls (35 grams for each cookie). Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet, spacing several inches (10 cm) apart. Flatten the cookies into 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) rounds using the bottom of a glass. Then, using the tines of the fork that has been dipped in granulated white sugar, make a crisscross pattern. 

Bake the cookies for about 10 - 13 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges but still soft in the center. Rotate your baking sheet front to back about halfway through baking. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for about 3 to 5 days, or they can be frozen.

Makes about 24 - 3 1/2 inch (9 cm) cookies.

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Peanut Butter Cookies:

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (185 grams) peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 large egg (50 grams), at room temperature

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

1/2 cup (80 grams) chopped peanuts or 1/2 cup (80 grams) chocolate chips (optional)

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