I know. Like you really need another peanut butter cookie recipe to try. I thought the same thing a mere two weeks ago. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, straight up classic peanut butter cookies rank pretty low on my list of cookies that speak to me in my dreams. I like peanut butter in cookies (these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, for instance, or this oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip version) but just plain ol’ peanut butter cookies haven’t ever been my thing.
These peanut butter cookies are incredible. And I’d love to tell you why (stick with me here).
Even though peanut butter cookies may not be my all-time fave, others of you probably adore them (hence the fact that I get a lot of requests for a classic version) so I decided to set out and figure out what my favorite version would be if I lived in a peanut butter cookie loving world. I tried almost all the recipes that come up when you google “best peanut butter cookies in the history of ever” and they were either too greasy, too crispy, too thin…too many things I didn’t want.
In the end, I ended kind of where I started. With this delicious peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. Because I wanted soft and chewy and maybe slightly cakey, and because I was also after the perfect, creamy texture with slightly less sweetness, I decreased the sugar, omitted the milk, and played around with a few other ingredients in that recipe.
My inner rebel knew from the start I would not be pressing cookies before they baked like many classic peanut butter cookies call for. I’m not really sure why – my rebelliousness exerts itself at the weirdest times. The problem is that after my variations, the cookies didn’t flatten by themselves very well in the oven – but when I messed with the ingredients (less flour, more butter, adding the milk back in), I didn’t get that amazingly soft and creamy peanut butter cookie I wanted. So, since I like to live life on the edge, when I pulled the next cookie sheet out of the oven and noticed the puffy cute little cookies, I decided I would give them a teeny little press with a flat-bottomed glass after baking to get a perfectly even thickness.
I can’t explain the exact science between the what and why and how, but it made all the difference and totally converted me into a peanut butter cookie lover, as well as creating a completely different cookie in a really, really good way. These babies are dense and soft and thick…and perfect. I promise. They’re perfect. And if you want to know another promise – try one straight from the freezer. I promise you’ll either love me or hate me.
Now that you’ve endured the longest schpeel ever dedicated to the best peanut butter cookie, you probably deserve a dozen of them. If you were my neighbor, I’d be there for you. But now it’s up to you get on in there in the kitchen and test them out for yourself. I know you have a favorite peanut butter cookie already – it’s time to see how these compare!
The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter (see note)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix until combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Scoop the dough and roll into 1- or 2-inch balls. Place on parchment- or silpat-lined (or lightly greased) large, rimmed baking sheets, placing them a couple inches apart.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes until puffed. Don’t overbake.
- Remove from the oven and immediately press each cookie to flatten slightly with the bottom of a flat drinking glass. Don’t flatten the cookies to smithereens, just press the puffed part down until the cookies are an even thickness.
- Scoop onto a cooling rack to cool completely. These cookies freeze great (and actually taste amazing straight from the freezer).
I haven’t tested the recipe using natural peanut butter – I’ve only used traditional creamy peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy). The trick to this recipe is instead of pressing the cookies flat before baking, give them a light press after they are done baking. It makes all the difference in the world for soft, dense peanut butter cookies.
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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, adapted from this chocolate chip version