Peanut butter cookies are a classic.  When they are good they are fantastic, but I’ve had bad peanut butter cookies before too.  The worst offenders have very little peanut flavor.  My favorite recipe is from the America’s Test Kitchen “Family Baking Book”.  The reason it is so good is the recipe calls for one cup of dry-roasted, salted, and chopped peanuts in addition to one cup of crunchy peanut butter.  The flavor is intense and the the texture is nutty throughout.

Tradition calls for a hashmark in the middle made by a dinner fork.  I wanted to switch things up a bit and used a meat mallet for the pattern.  I’ve seen fancy cookie stamps at kitchen stores for $25, but why not just hunt in your own kitchen drawers for something new?

Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (7 oz) brown sugar

1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar

1 cup (8.8 oz)  extra crunchy peanut butter, such as Skippy (do not sub natural peanut butter as it does not work – I’ve tried!)

2 tsps. vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup (5 oz) dry-roasted, salted peanuts chopped fine (such as Fisher brand)  I chop them in a food processor being mindful not to overprocess them and turn them into a paste

Ajust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle postions and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes.  Beat in the peanut butter until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl and beaters as needed.

Reduce mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.  Mix in the chopped peanuts until incorporated.

Working with 3 tablespoons of dough at a time (about 2 ounces), roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared sheets, spacing about two inches apart.  Make a traditional crosshatch design with a floured dinner fork or try something different.  I used a lightly floured meat mallet to gently press in a different design.

Bake the cookies until the edges are golden and the centers have puffed, about 10-12 minutes.  Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking.

Allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets before transferring them to cooling racks.  Store in an airtight container.

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