My parents came down for an outdoor lunch visit today. We differ in our opinions of whether nuts should be in cookies and brownies. (that’s a nope for me). I had the perfect plan to bake white chocolate macadamia nut cookies that would please both crowds. But as I was creaming the butter and sugars, I realized I didn’t have macadamia nuts! I had a brief moment of panic since the mixer was already going. Fortunately I found I could redirect to peanut butter cookies with just a little bit more sugar. Win!
Double win because these peanut butter cookies have both crunchy peanut butter and ground peanuts, so they can please all the nutty people! And Mom asked for the recipe, so I can say with confidence both sides of the nut-fence will be happy. (How many times can I say “nut”? I dedicate this post to my husband and three sons, who have forever altered my ability to say “nut” without a smirk or a giggle. There are also balls in the instructions below… wait for it.)
As for cookie texture, these have just enough crunch to go with the softness. Don’t use “natural” peanut butter – the cookies crumbled apart for me with it. I recommend well-stirred organic crunchy peanut butter (not the dry stuff at the bottom of the jar) or just plain old Jif or Peter Pan extra crunchy peanut butter. Also, if you want to get fancy with these for the holiday parties you won’t be having this year, I bet they would be extra delicious with half dipped in melted chocolate!
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt or table salt, (1 tsp if using unsalted butter)
- 16 tbsp (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup crunchy (or extra crunchy) peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts, ground in a food processor to resemble bread crumbs (about 14 pulses)
Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed with a rubber spatula. (Or get yourself a beater blade!) Add the peanut butter and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds; add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Decrease the speed to low and add the dry ingredients; mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the ground peanuts until just incorporated.
Use a cookie scoop or scoop a generous 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Roll into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2½ inches apart (they don't spread very much – see photos above). Press each dough ball twice with a fork, at perpendicular angles, to make a crisscross design.
Bake, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are puffy and slightly brown around the edges but not on top, about 10-12 minutes. They will not look fully baked, and that's ok! Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack to fully cool. Repeat until all cookies are baked.
To make these extra fancy, you can dip half in chocolate. Microwave 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power, stirring occasionally, until melted (2-3 minutes). Stir in 1 tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate or drizzle chocolate over cookies using a spoon. Place on parchment or wax paper. Let the chocolate set for about 1 hour before serving.
Source: America’s Test Kitchen