These Classic Peanut Butter Cookies must come close to the top of the list of America's favorites. Try them to see that I am not wrong. If you love peanut butter, you will love these cookies too. This favorite recipe is perfect for a sweet tooth.
These are probably the easiest cookies to make. They are part of the "drop cookies" category because the dough is soft enough to drop off the spoon and on the baking sheet.
What are drop cookies?
As I told you before, drop cookies are made with a soft enough dough to drop off the spoon on the baking sheet.
The basic mixture is often made by the creaming method, where butter and sugar are beaten until light and fluffy. Eggs are then beaten in, followed by flour, raising agents, and flavorings.
- Unsalted butter at room temperature- we need to cream the butter with sugar, and it is easier to work with when the butter is soft. Also, you can replace it with salted butter, but you will need to skip the pinch of salt required in the recipe. I would not recommend using shortening or margarine.
- Dark brown sugar- brings flavor and softness to the cookies.
- Eggs- I use large eggs in most of my baking goods, so this is what I recommend.
- Vanilla extract- I know these are no times to get fussy, but if you can, please use the real vanilla extract and not the fake one.
- Peanut butter- creamy, smooth peanut butter is good; crunchy is acceptable, too, for more texture. If you don't want peanut butter, you can try almond butter or other nut butter you like.
- All-purpose flour is the most popular and used flour in the US, therefore perfect for baking.
- Baking soda- is essential for the cookies to rise.
- Salt- enhances the flavors of any baked goods.
*The amount of each ingredient can be found in the recipe card. All ingredients are available in the grocery store.
How To Make The Cookie Dough
Step 1. Butter and sugar.
Place butter and sugar in a bowl and use an electric hand mixer to cream them until light and fluffy.
Step 2. Egg and vanilla.
Mix the egg and vanilla extract in another bowl, then gradually beat them into the butter mixture.
Step 3. Peanut butter and dry ingredients.
Stir in the peanut butter and blend thoroughly. Sift together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir into the mixture to form a soft dough.
Step 4. Chill the dough.
Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes until firm.
Step 5. Prepare the baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease two baking sheets or cover them with parchment paper or silicone mats.
You will also need a fork and a cookie scoop if you are looking to get the cookies all the same size.
Step 6. Form the cookies.
If you do not use the ice cream scoop, just grab two teaspoons. Spoon out rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough and roll them into balls.
I used my ice cream scoop here in this picture.
Step 7. Mark the cookies with the classic fork marks.
Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets and press flat with the back of a fork into rounds about 2 ½in/6cm in diameter, making a criss-cross pattern.
Why do we put fork marks on peanut butter cookies:
These cookies have a denser texture than other cookies, so using the fork to flatten the batter and spread it out helps the cookies to bake even, with a slightly crispy texture on top.
Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Pretty easy, right?
What peanut butter to use
Most peanut butter cookies are made with soft, regular creamy peanut butter, like Jif or Skippy. If you have crunchy peanut butter in the pantry, use that.
To add more texture to your cookies, throw ½ cup of chopped peanuts with the peanut butter.
If you have organic, natural peanut butter, use that. Just make sure to stir the peanut butter well.
Natural peanut butter doesn't have a stabilizer, and the cookies will be very runny because of the oil floating on top of the peanut butter.
If you want to use that type of nut butter, go for the Skippy brand, which makes a natural peanut butter that doesn't need to be stirred! Score!
Can I freeze or refrigerate this dough, and for how long?
Honestly, I never tried to freeze this dough. The quick answer would be no and no. I would not freeze the dough.
Regular cookie dough that doesn't contain leavening ingredients, like baking soda or baking powder, can be stored in the refrigerator overnight or, in some cases, for up to a week.
Also, regular cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, but the flavors tend to lose their intensity after a month or so.
However, this cookie dough contains baking soda, making it NOT suitable for freezing or keeping in the refrigerator for days. Make it the same day you plan to bake the cookies.
I would freeze the baked cookies, though. You can place them on parchment paper and freeze them in layers in a freezer plastic bag or airtight container.
How to store
As a rule of thumb, with a few exceptions, cookies are best eaten on the day they are made.
Some, like the American-style soft cookies, are delicious when slightly warm from the oven, but most cookies need to be cooled first to allow them to crisp and set.
If you are not planning to eat them straight away, store them as soon as they have cooled. This will prevent crisp cookies from becoming soft and soft ones to dry out and get hard.
If you do not overbake them, these are soft, chewy peanut butter cookies.
It is essential to keep them in an airtight container, and, if possible, they should also be stored in the refrigerator to retain the freshly baked flavor.
Dry and crumbly peanut butter cookies: This is a sign you probably baked them too much. These homemade peanut butter cookies are very deceiving. They don't look baked even if they are fully cooked, as they don't get brown around the edges.
Can I add some other ingredients to the dough, and what would be good? (I want to make them fun, they look boring to me):
- Do you have chocolate chips? You need only a ¼ cup of any kind of chocolate chips you have in the pantry. Perfect for making peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
- You could also skip the fork and leave the ball as it is without pressing it. Bake the cookies as the recipe requires, then press a Hershey Kiss in the middle of the hot cookie. Here you have peanut butter kiss cookies.
- Do you like nuts? We already talked about extra peanuts, but go ahead and add some chopped pecans or walnuts if you like them.
- Are you out of peanut butter, but you have some almond butter or sunflower butter, or cashew butter? Try them for a fun and different cookie flavor.
- Toss the balls in granulated sugar before placing them on the baking tray and flatten them with the fork.
Are you going to try it? This is the best peanut butter cookie recipe you will ever find and a family favorite.
More cookies to bake
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Peanut Butter Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Place butter and sugar in a bowl and use an electric mixer to cream them until light and fluffy.
- In another bowl, mix the egg and vanilla essence, then gradually beat them into the butter mixture.
- Stir in the peanut butter and blend throughly. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the mixture to form a soft dough. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease two baking sheets or cover them with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- Spoon out rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough and roll into balls.(You can use an ice cream scoop as well)
- Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets and press flat with a fork into rounds about 2 ½in/6cm in diameter, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.