I remember making this recipe for peanut butter cookies with my mom when I was a kid. I loved to press down on the dough with a fork after she rolled them. More than a decade passed before I tried making them again when I was in college. My dad had recently bought me my own mixmaster electric mixer, similar to my mom’s Sunbeam mixmaster. Although my new Sunbeam mixer now had a light bulb to illuminate the bowl, the body was entirely plastic and the power was definitely not the same. It worked fine for all my other baking needs until I made this recipe, which resulted in smoke pouring out the back of the mixer. It still worked afterwards, but it was never the same and would stutter at lower speeds. In the mixer’s defense I will admit that I had used hydrogenated peanut butter, which is considerably thicker than real peanut butter. Although I now have a wonderful 75th anniversary KitchenAid stand mixer, I still have to recommend you choose your peanut butter wisely.
It’s all about the peanut butter.
The key to a good peanut butter cookie is using real peanut butter. Sure, I grew up with and thoroughly enjoyed Jif and Skippy (creamy, please), but now that I am older I appreciate natural, un-hydrogenated peanut butter (I also like broccoli now, though I still don’t care for zucchini). Nevertheless, I still have fond memories of fighting my sister to be first to swipe a finger in a brand new jar of peanut butter. I was put off at first by natural peanut butter. Look at all that oil on top—and the peanut butter underneath has a rough and dry texture. Mixing only seemed to get oil everywhere. Gross! I have since learned that you can easily reincorporate natural peanut butter by repeatedly plunging a knife into it for several minutes. Eventually you will be able to stir it and the peanut butter will be nice and smooth. Store in the refrigerator and it won’t separate again (at least not for a really long time—too long).
These cookies are soft with just a hint of crunch on the edges. If you like your peanut butter cookies crunchier, just cook another minute or two. These cookies are surprisingly forgiving to over-baking. I think they look best with a 4 tined fork, but use whatever you have handy.
The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery can be found on the Peanut Butter Criss-Cross recipe page.