My rather fabulous niece Hannah Darcey tried to make peanut butter cookies the other day. She got the recipe from her pal Taya, having tasted them at T’s house. We were having a big get-together at our place to celebrate the arrival of Granny Sally, Margo, Wendy and James (the kids’ Dad’s family) who are over from the UK on holiday. Her other Granny (sofamom) was bringing ice-cream, cones and crushed peppermint crisps to make ice-cream cones, and HD (who loves peanut butter) thought her biscuits would be a good add.
They didn’t make it. In the to and fro with her mother as to who’s fault it was – I gleaned that the cookies (or as we call them biscuits) had been too oily which sparked a half-memory. I had read somewhere recently that peanut butter must be emulsified if you want to use it to cook with – otherwise the oil just creates havoc. I kept my thoughts to myself (no way was I getting involved in a mother/daughter argument) and decided I would give the cookies a shot myself. I knew how my niece felt – there’s nothing worse than setting off to bake and ending up with a gloopy blob as your reward. If I tested out a recipe for her, she would be able to take it and duplicate it at home. Plus it is Jasper’s birthday today and we are all getting together to celebrate. I could take them as dessert – out of temptation’s range.
They turned out pretty well. Which was a miracle considering that when I got to the kitchen cupboard I discovered the plain white flour I thought I had … was actually self-raising flour. I hit the internet in a panic and was reassured by other disorganised bakers that it was ok – just don’t add baking soda. So I didn’t.
My preference in peanut butter is one that has no sugar … but with a few sugar related baking flops under my belt, I decided to use up various leftover nut butters that were lurking around in the fridge. I brought two jars of almond and regular (organic) peanut to room temperature, thoroughly mixing in any oil that had separated to the top. It made for a nice mix … not too sweet (“I don’t bloody believe it” thinks sofa brother “… there she goes again.”) And, for the sugar – I mixed loose-packed granular brown sugar with some demerera (the tight packed dark brown sugar that smells like molasses)
Lastly, because I know absolutely nothing about the science of baking – I decided I would add some bits and pieces to my dough. Smarties (S.A.’s version on M+Ms) and pretzels for the birthday boy. 70% chocolate for the adults… ok for me. And then, some plain ones for comparison. I had seen Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction do this – to fabulous success. I think I may have overstuffed mine a bit – they came out looking a bit ‘rustic’ but they tasted great. Especially the dark chocolate. And my pal Thabo (11) next door assured me that looks aren’t everything when it comes to cookies. He loved the smartie one – “I could taste the peanut butter – but not too much. It was really nice.” Ananda, his six-year-old cousin, is a girl of few words: “Yummy”, she said.
So – here you go, Sally’s recipe for basic peanut butter cookie dough but she has a whole host of alternatives, including a flourless chocolate brownie peanut butter cookie – that are just begging to be made. And they will.
My Darcey Rumple, this one is for you. And for me. Because we love peanut butter and because we gave it a go.
The Perfect Soft Peanut Butter Cookie
1/2 cup/115g salted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup/100g packed light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/4 cup/50g granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup/185g creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups/160g all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed.
2. Beat in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order).
3. Beat in the baking powder and flour. Do not overmix.
4. If you are adding anything – fold it in now.
5. Cover the dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Longer if you can wait.
1. Preheat oven to 350F/178C degrees.
2. Drop chilled dough by tiny tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet or baking paper. Don’t handle them too much – the dough gets hot quickly.
3. Press down to slightly flatten them out.
4. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The smaller ones were perfect at 7 mins.
The cookies will be soft and may appear undone. Don’t be tempted to whack them back in the oven.They will firm up as they cool. I baked mine in a few batches, which allowed me to confirm the cooking time. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie should stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for 10 days. If they last anywhere near that long