Cavalcade of Food: Old-School Peanut Butter Cookies
Baking cookies is a fairly regular exercise in the CoF kitchens, and while it is always fun to experiment and try new recipes, most often I find myself preparing one from what I refer to as the “trinity of cookies:” chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal. This has a lot to do with the ingredients that I have on-hand when I get the urge to make cookies. It seems that I always have flour, butter, eggs, white and brown sugar, chocolate chips, peanut butter and rolled oats in the kitchen.
So, one morning I decided to make a batch of peanut butter cookies. These are the ones you imagine when you think of peanut butter cookies – round and sporting some crinkles around the edges, with the familiar criss-cross top made using the tines of a fork. These are the peanut butter cookies my mom and the mothers of my friends made growing up in our suburban Detroit neighborhood. They go great with a tall, cold glass of milk or with coffee or tea.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening (I use Crisco here, some use margarine instead but I’ve never tried that method)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky – use regular PB, not the “natural” style where the oils separate)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Using an electric mixer, cream together the sugars, shortening and vanilla. Add peanut butter and eggs and combine, scraping down bowl as necessary.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, scraping down bowl as necessary. Continue to mix until dry ingredients are totally combined. Dough will be thick.
Roll dough into balls (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick spray. You should be able to get a dozen on a sheet. Using a dinner fork that is dipped in flour, gently press down on dough ball in one direction, lift fork, dip again in flour, and press down on dough in perpendicular direction. This will both flatten the dough ball and create a criss-cross pattern on top of the cookie.
Bake in oven 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.