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Peanut Butter Cookies (and jelly)

After working on my recipe index [1], 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 [2])

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.)