I have to admit that peanut butter cookies are generally not my first choice when it comes to desserts. However, my husband is a HUGE fan of peanut butter in anything, so when I saw an old Smitten Kitchen post about these cookies– supposedly the ultimate peanut butter treat– I had to try my hand at them.
Interestingly, while they’ve been billed as soft and creamy and almost peanut-butter-cup-like in texture, with a domed shape that lends itself to soft centers and crisp outsides, I didn’t get that result at all. Instead, mine were flat and chewy– still very tasty and still devoured quickly by both my husband and daughter, but not what I was expecting.
I think that where I went wrong was in using chunky peanut butter rather than creamy– the pieces of peanut, while adding to the weight of the peanut butter as measured, meant that there was correspondingly less peanut butter to react with the sugar and egg to form dough. I’m assuming that this altered the texture of the dough and made it flatten out. Also I used a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter rather than the 16.3 oz jar recommended on the website (apparently the 16.3 oz jar of Jif peanut butter is the perfect size for this recipe), so maybe that also changed things just enough?
Whatever, the cookies were still delicious, and I’ll probably add them to my recipe box for the next time I need to bribe my husband… 😉 Or do a rainy-day project with my daughter, since these are so, SO easy to make! The ingredient list is minimal, so all you really need is a fresh jar of peanut butter and your standard pantry ingredients, and you’ll be all set!
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 3/4 cups (335 g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups (450 g, or one 16.3 oz. jar) of creamy peanut butter. NOT natural, get the processed stuff!
1. Using a fork, beat together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add peanut butter, again stirring until smooth. The mixture is supposed to make a very soft dough, but for me it ended up more like a thick batter.
3. Chill completely, or place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
4. Scoop cookies into rounded tablespoons and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It doesn’t matter how far apart they are at this point because they’re going straight back into the freezer for another 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Space cookies at least 3″ apart on a parchment lined sheet and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
6. Bake for 14 minutes, until the edges just start to turn light golden. The centers will still look wet and raw, but this is fine. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool.
- Despite my taking these out of the oven with the centers still wet-looking, I think I may have overbaked them just a tiny bit, since the bottoms were medium brown and they were just chewy enough at the edges to stick in my teeth. I think I’d prefer them softer, which would mean taking them out at the 14-minute mark rather than 15-and-a-bit.
- Next time I’ll try the precise type and amount of peanut butter that Deb used in her recipe– creamy Jif– and see if it makes a difference. However, since I did like the crunch of peanuts, I think I’ll add some chopped peanuts to the mix.
- These would probably make great ice cream sandwiches…