Peanut Butter Cookies (and jelly)

After working on my recipe index, I was surprised to see that I didn’t have a recipe for peanut butter cookies. This is strange for a couple of reasons. As someone who never cared about chocolate, peanut butter cookies were always a safe choice when I was a kid (the other option, oatmeal, was always risky because too often they contained raisins- yuck). Also, peanut butter cookies are one of only three things my mom baked on a regular basis. Her peanut butter cookies are my favorite. They are thin and crispy and always over-baked. Yes, my mom is a pretty classic over-cooker. She just wants to make sure it is Done. As a result, I developed an appreciation for well-browned baked goods at an early age, I think it makes me very European. I still bake things longer than I should if I am baking for myself. There is something about that deeply browned edge that makes me very, very happy.

I try new recipes for peanut butter cookies every once in a while and I don’t like most of them. Too many are chewy and dense and cloyingly sweet. I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe from Karen DeMasco despite my already professed love for The Craft of Baking. But I was pleasantly surprised when these tasted almost exactly like my mom’s recipe! They are crisp and buttery and have a nice kick of salt. I can’t stop eating them.

The original recipe calls for them to be made into little sandwiches with some chocolate in between. Since that wasn’t going to happen, I used jam which was okay. But honestly, I liked them best on their own. Or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Of course I prefer them when they are allowed to brown along the edges, but you can do what you like.

Peanut Butter Cookies (by Karen DeMasco)

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the oil, vanilla, and egg and beat until just combined, about 20 seconds. Add the flour mixture, beating just to combine.

Lightly flour the palms of your hands, and roll the dough into balls about 1/2 inch in diameter. (I found it was easier to do this if I chilled the dough for about 20 minutes before proceeding, also gives you time to clean the kitchen) Place them about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown on the edges, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely. (The peanut butter cookies can be stored, unfilled, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

26 comments to “Peanut Butter Cookies (and jelly)”

  1. i like how dainty and bite-sized these are. classic combo.



  2. I ate 3 lemon bars yesterday, so am gonna take a break…and then I’m making these! Yum!

  3. Me too, I’d always go for the browniest cookie in the lot. Actually a part of me appreciates properly done cookies, but the brown edges have their own poetry. That is why I am a big fan of old ovens, who very often cook more on one side, so that you can get both degrees of cooking at one go (and make the perfectionist in you go mad)!

  4. Can someone tell me how many cookies (single) this recipe makes? I’m another lover of the crunchy, browned edge! – Liz

  5. i love that your mom made “overcooked” cookies. at least she baked, right?! my mom always bought them from the foodstore. these PB&J cookies are just adorable. I’d probably eat them by themselves, or with more peanut butter smeared between them :)

  6. Hi Liz,
    It totally depends on the size. I make mine very small (the balls of dough are 1/2 inch) and I probably get about 4 dozen.

  7. Heather, spreading more peanut butter between them is a good idea. Not sure why I didn’t try that. Also making some sort of Nutter Butter-like filling would be delicious.

  8. Such a great post. My mom was born in Europe and definitely overcooks most things, just to make sure they are DONE. Can’t wait to try them.

  9. Ooh, love the PB&J sandwich idea. Thanks!

  10. Shall I call these breakfast cookies? Love them!

  11. Yum. I made these tonight after seeing this today! Mine are too thick to make the sandwiches work that well but you are right, the salt factor is the best part of them.

  12. Glad you rectified the problem! :) I heart PB with anythinnggg!

  13. Those are adorable sandwich cookies! And being a fan of peanut butter and chocolate, I would have to try the recipe with a chocolate filling…or just with more peanut butter like another reader suggested!

  14. I’ve been on the hunt for a really good peanut butter cookie recipe. No luck so far, but with this post, I am cautiously optimistic. Have to say, though, that when it comes to PB cookies, I’m a sucker for the “softies” with the old-fashioned fork criss-cross pattern on top. Nostalgic, yes, but I just love them. Or, at least the idea of them, since I’m still hunting for the recipe! ;) Maybe I could just underbake these (sorry, moms). Fingers Crossed.

  15. PB cookies sandwiched with jam?? Perfect!!!!! Love these.

  16. Sivan Harlap says:

    April 8th, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    perfect little cookies

  17. It’s exciting when the recipes are really easy (read:lazy) to make vegan! It’s like you’re requiring me to spend a couple of hours making peanut butter cookies this weekend, Tim. FINE, I’ll do it. GEEZ.

    As a kid, I always ate the burnt ones first, too!

  18. I keep coming back to this post. A should I or shouldn’t I. You see, I’ve found the perfect flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. I thought it was perfect, anyway. What if I make these and they are even more perfect? Ugh…I should stop waffling and just back. :)

  19. Hi Tim, so I just made these and wow! They’re absolutely delish! Mine turned out super over-baked though – some are black on the bottom, and too fat to sandwich together. My oven is pretty rubbish, so that could be to blame.
    Thanks for another great recipe.

  20. My grandmother never made oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies…always peanut butter cookies, the tops crisscrossed with a fork in the peanut-butter-cookie fashion of the time. When I read your post, I realized I hadn’t seen my precious copy of Grandma’s recipe lately, and I sent myself on a scrambling heart-racing search…phew! Safe in the back pocket of my little black recipe notebook. But – damn you! Now I’ll be forced to make cookies in defiance of my springtime slimming regime. I bet they’d be great with a little Nutella spread between…

  21. This is completely unrelated to this post but I still wanted to share this with you! I started falling your blog during the 12 days of Cookies/Christmas (which I hope you do again! made half of them and they were amazing). I was in Chicago over the weekend and followed your guide. Smoque was the best bbq that I’ve ever had, Xoco was marvelous (why can’t my guac taste that good!?! it can’t be that difficult…), and The Bristol was darling and lovely – great service and I LOVED how the majority of the menu were specials! Avec was another fabulous restaurant that we went to. Can’t wait to go back and try more on your list, thank you kindly for sharing!

  22. Hey Kate, It sounds like you had an amazing food weekend! I am so glad the list was helpful.

  23. These are way too cute!! Definitely need to try it out. As the previous comment said, they ARE perfect little cookies!

  24. Sylvia Smith says:

    May 4th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    What an idea.. I love the way these stack perfectly on each other! and the jelly inside is the perfect separator.. I like that it keeps them moist and not too dry! Lovely.
    Cigars Online

  25. I think I’m cursed when it comes to meringues. I’ve tried these once before and my eggs never fluffed up at all. I figured it was probably the usual issue of a not completely clean bowl, and gave up to try again another day. Some recent success with other egg-white based desserts boosted my confidence to give these another go tonight. This time, the egg whites fluffed up a bit and got nice and glossy, but never reached stiff peaks. It looked very akin to 7-minute frosting–sticky, glossy, and marshmallow-y–but it was runny. It fluffled a bit while whisking on the heat, but never rose further or stiffened once I took it off-heat and beat with my electric mixer (it may even have deflated a bit). I was careful to clean all my utensils (wiped the bowl, whisk, etc. with a swipe of lemon juice to be sure any oil residue was gone). I’m a bit baffled. And sad since I love the Tartine version (and all things Tartine). Any ideas would be much appreciated!

  26. Whoop! That post was intended for the pecan rochers recipe! These were what I made to comfort me after the baking failure. Got the tabs mixed up. These little beauties turned out deliciously. And obviously don’t involve meringue.

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