Easy Peanut Butter Cookies come together in minutes with simple pantry ingredients. They are chewy and crispy with delicious peanut butter flavor.
I have talked at length about me being a total peanut butter snob. However, when it comes to cookies, I’m not a snob. Because, well, the peanut butter mixes with other ingredients for the cookie. So, it doesn’t have to shine all on its own for cookies.
This is my go-to recipe when I am hankering for a peanut butter cookie. It’s a simple and easy recipe that comes together quickly. It’s pantry ingredients that most should have on hand. Which means these easy peanut butter cookies can be whipped up at any time.
Who invented peanut butter?
I could have sworn I wrote about this before, but I cannot seem to find it on the blog. While we weren’t the first to ground peanuts into a paste, we were the first to use it for multiple purposes. The Incas were the first to ground nuts. But I think it was the war and meat rationing that really brought about the popularity of peanut butter and peanuts as a meat alternative.
Another story is that a St. Louis physician created a peanut butter to help his older patients without teeth get protein in their diet. The 1904 World’s Fair introduced peanut butter to the rest of the country. And since it was a frugal and tasty form of protein, peanut butter has been an integral part of military rations for decades. It’s also been part of kids lunches for decades, too.
Who invented peanut butter cookies?
For that we must remove the “butter” part of the title and say who invented peanut cookies. Because that would be George Washington Carver. The advocate for peanuts at the turn of the century after the boll weevil decimated cotton crops at that time. He compiled a cook about growing peanuts that included several recipes using this new crop. In that book there are three cookie recipes called for crushed or chopped peanuts. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that it was changed to peanut butter.
His original recipes are very much like peanut butter cookies today. There’s flour, sugar, baking powder, and eggs. Sometimes there’s butter and sometimes not and sometimes there’s milk and sometimes not. The last recipe, Peanut Cookies Number Three is interesting in that it calls for blanched and finely chopped peanuts. I would imagine this to be more like peanut butter. I could be wrong.
Why are peanut butter cookies pressed with a fork?
The first peanut butter cookies were either rolled or dropped. I guess the batter was more loose back then. I can’t imagine the dropping and baking the current peanut butter cookie dough. And I don’t think it’s stiff enough to roll. I did make a peanut butter shortbread that I rolled and cut.
I think it was an article that came out at the tail end of the 1800s that alluded to peanut butter used in place of shortening. I think this opened newly available peanut butter up for use in place of butter for traditional cookie recipes. If you replace the peanut butter with shortening in a peanut butter cookie recipe it’s almost like a sugar cookie dough. Right?
There is a slew of recipes after the 1900’s that use peanut butter as the main fat in a cookie recipe. They have more flour which makes the dough a stiffer dough that you still can’t drop and bake or slice and bake. So, what’s a cook to do?
Well, shape the dough into balls and try to bake them. If anyone has tried this it just doesn’t work out well. The cookies don’t bake evenly and spread weird. Try it one time with a couple of balls of your cookie dough. Just for kicks.
Okay. We can’t drop the cookies, can’t slice the cookies, and baking the balls lends to undesirable results. Fast forward to 1932 where the famous criss cross marks are mentioned in a cookie recipe. The author says to drop the balls onto the cookie sheet and then press a fork into the ball “first one way and then the other, so they look like squares on waffles.” I wonder if the squares on waffles was to make them look like waffle cookies. Who knows?
What do easy peanut butter cookies taste like?
Well, these are thinner and chewier cookies, which I like. However, if you’re not up for the thinner and chewier version you can still make easy peanut butter cookies. Simply chill the dough for a couple of hours before baking. This will prevent the cookies from spreading more and make for a thicker cookie.
Chilling the dough will make the fat contact in the cookie more solid and hard. This means it takes more time and temperature in the oven for it to melt and spread. Thus, preventing the spread that makes these thin, crispy, and chewy. Chilled dough is still chewy, but is less crispy, taller, and softer. But still chewy.
Either way, these cookies are full of rich peanut butter flavor. Since I am a chewy cookie fan, I love the slightly chew texture and the crisp edges. I also like the softer, more traditional peanut butter cookies, too. So, I have made this dough both ways. And either way it comes out tasting perfectly delicious. And perfect with a glass of milk!
And since this is a super easy recipe, it will be a go to favorite for all your cookie swaps and holiday parties. I scooped mine out based on the tablespoon sized scoop and was able to get about 30 cookies. Which is quite a bit of cookies for just the two of us, but I think it’s the perfect amount for a party or cookie exchange. And it can easily double if you want more cookies for a larger party. Or feel like giving them to family and friends as a gift from the kitchen.
Can you freeze easy peanut butter cookies?
Another bonus is peanut butter cookie dough freezes well. Simple roll them into balls and place them on a sheet pan to freeze individually. Once frozen, pop them into a freezer safe container. That way you can pop them into oven for fresh baked cookies any time you want. Simply let them thaw for 30 minutes before baking. This allows them to soften enough to make the criss cross marks for perfect cookies.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup butter flavored shortening
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 cups unbleached or bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 325.
- Stir the flour and the baking soda together with a whisk. Set aside.
- Cream together the sugars, peanut butter, and shortening.
- Stir in the eggs one at a time beating after each.
- Add the milk and stir until combined.
- Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a silpat lined baking sheet.
- Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork in a crisscross pattern.
- Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cool in pan 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition InformationYield 15 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 392Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 58mgSodium 236mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 1gSugar 26gProtein 7g
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