Life has been crazy, guys. Not as crazy as Beyonce at Coachella, though – nothing can top that. But sometimes when life is crazy you just need to take a step back and bake. What better than cookies? Nothing, that’s what. These peanut butter cookies are not only the best freakin’ peanut butter cookie you will ever eat, it’s also ridiculously easy. They’re four ingredients. Yeah, four. Okay, let’s do this.
Of course these are a smitten kitchen hero recipe. Just like the all-star cocoa brownies, Deb is completely on point with these cookies. She has some tips on getting them to have the beautiful striations on the top in the recipe. Trust me, it’s not difficult and only requires 10 more minutes. Hint: it’s just cold dough + an ice cream scoop.
The dough’s temperature plays a huge factor in the final outcome of the cookie. Most cookies are like 50% fat or fat-like substance (here it’s peanut butter). When you put dough into a hot oven, the fat begins to melt while the structural agents (eggs and flour) work their magic to keep the cookie’s shape. This race determines the shape and chewiness vs. crispiness of the cookie. The colder the dough, the slower the fat melts, yielding a higher domed/more chewy cookie.
Very few recipes call for a cookie sheet to be greased before putting the cookies on it. Why? Similar to the above reason, it affects the final cookie’s texture. The additional grease will cause your cookies’ edges to slide on the hot pan. This speeds up the spreading, which causes a crispier cookie.
Cookies are perfect for freezing! I love freezing cookie dough to bake off later. The best way to do this is line a cookie sheet with parchment; scoop out the dough into the desired portions (an ice cream scoop is best); then pop in the freezer until frozen solid. This is called flash freezing. Since you pre-portioned and frozen the balls individually, you can store them in a bag in the freezer without them forming into a giant cookie dough glob – yum.
- 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter
- Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated; you shouldn’t be able to see any ribbons of peanut butter. Ovenly says you know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh, but I can tell you as the mom of a Play-Doh fanatic that mine was thinner, softer.
- If you’d like to get those pretty striations across the top of the cookies, chill the dough by freezing it in its bowl for 15 minutes, stirring it once (so the edges don’t freeze first), before scooping it. If you’re not obsessed with these markings, you can scoop it right away. Scoop or spoon the dough into balls — Ovenly uses about a 1/4-cup scoop (probably #16); I use a 1 2/3 tablespoons or #40 scoop. Place on prepared pan. For the tallest final shape, place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
- Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake smaller cookies for 14 to 15 minutes and larger for 18 to 20. When finished, cookies should be golden at edges. They’ll need to set on the sheet for a minute or two before they can be lifted intact to a cooling sheet. Trust me, you should let these cool completely before eating so the different textures (crisp outside, soft inside) can set up.
Feel free to mix in a handful of chocolate chips if you’re into that kind of thing.
Recipe from smitten kitchen.