Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

20200615_172625One time, my reward from my dad for a semester of good grades was a jar of Planters Dry Roasted peanuts to have all to myself.  No joke, one of the best treats I’ve ever received.

20200629_091725(All links open a new page, so you won’t lose your spot when you look around!  Get information on gardening and cultural traditions, recipes, stories, and more!)

I have had a life-long love affair with peanuts and peanut butter (just like my dad, hence the choice of treats).  Sneaking spoons full of peanut butter from the jar in the refrigerator was one of my favorite activities.  It wasn’t even the sweet kind of peanut butter, either.  My parents had this whole thing about having a “healthy diet”, so the sugary peanut butter was never part of our pantry staples.

20200629_091842However, there were always cookies available for enjoying with coffee and hot chocolate on Saturday mornings.  Sometimes they were ones from the store, but a lot of the time my mom would make a big batch of some cookies that would get tucked into a metal cookie jar in the pantry.  (That lid was not the quietest one to remove!)

One of my favorites was, no surprise, peanut butter cookies.  My other favorite?  What do you know, chocolate chip.  Bring them together, and you’ve got one of the greatest flavor combinations known to humankind.  Maybe I’m exaggerating.  Maybe not.  Either way, these are definitely great cookies.  Crispy, nutty, chocolaty, what’s not to love?  And you don’t have to wait for a Saturday morning to enjoy them.

20200629_091941Some quick notes before you begin:

The pictures above show a double recipe.  I will make small batches of cookies at a time and keep the remaining dough in a container in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to make more.  This way there’s not a bunch of very tempting cookies laying about all at once, and I can quickly make a fresh batch for visitors!  If the dough is in the freezer, allow it to warm a bit before trying to scoop any out as it will be hard.  The dough will last for quite a while in the refrigerator, too.

The amount of sugar in the recipe is based on using a natural style peanut butter with only added salt.  Avoid using peanut butter that has added sugar as they will make the cookies overly sweet (no, that’s not good).

20200629_092216You’ll also want to avoid peanut butters with emulsifiers as that will change how the fat balance in the recipe interacts with the flour.  Many peanut butters actually have their natural oils removed and have other types of fats and those emulsifiers added in to prevent separation of oil from the butter and to give a smoother texture.  This will actually lead to a weaker peanut butter flavor.

You could always make your own peanut butter, too!  I use roasted peanuts that have simply been lightly salted and grind them up in my food processor.  Placing the peanut butter in the refrigerator right away after processing prevents the oils from separating and you now have a product that you know exactly what ingredients it has!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

  • Difficulty: easier than resisting eating an entire jar of peanuts all by myself
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup peanut butter, unsweetened, creamy or crunchy
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (less flour makes a flatter and crunchier cookie, more flour makes a puffier and cake-like texture), measure the flour by fluffing it up with a whisk and gently scooping it into the measuring cup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (you can use more or less depending on how salty your butter and peanut butter are)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, use however much suits your chocolate tastes or none at all

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease it well with butter.

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale in color.  Add in the egg and beat until combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to get all the butter incorporated.  Add the sugars and vanilla extract and beat until sugars are nearly dissolved and the mixture is fluffy.  Add in the peanut butter and again beat to fluffy, scraping sides down as needed to get everything mixed together.

In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together to mix.  Add the flour to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low speed.  You don’t want to over mix or the cookies will become tough.  Just mix until all the flour is incorporated.

Using a large spoon, mix in the amount of chocolate chips you wish to have and gently stir in until they are equally distributed throughout.  Again, do not over mix your dough.

Scoop out dough in balls about the size of a ping-pong ball, which is a little smaller than a golf ball.  Place them on the baking sheet about two inches apart.  “Score” each cookie by pressing down on the ball twice with the tines of a fork in perpendicular directions to make a cross-hatch pattern.  This is the traditional marking for peanut butter cookies to allow them to bake properly since the dough is typically pretty dense.  You could simply flatten them with your hand, but where’s the fun in that?

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they are golden brown.  You could bake them a little longer for a crisper cookie if desired, but don’t burn them!  Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  They will be fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool.  Make yourself some coffee or hot chocolate (or don’t, it’s up to you!) and enjoy!  And yes, milk is good, too!

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