It's the ultimate cookie makeover. Peanut butter cookies. Classic. Nostalgic. Comforting. So easy to make. Sparked by a friend's post on Facebook "Fanny Farmers peanut butter cookies. That's all. Nothing better. #cookies#baking #home #MRD #love" and moved by a memoir I had read in the New York Times, Baking Cookies in my Mother's Kitchen, I was compelled to turn on my own oven. I don't keep many baking supplies on hand. I simply don't trust myself. I don't have much will power when deliciousness is staring me in the face. My cupboards, however, are never without sugars, flour and peanut butter. There's always a healthy supply of eggs and butter in the fridge. That's the beautiful thing about this recipe. It's simple and the ingredients are few. There are many versions of peanut butter cookie recipes out there but I think Fanny Farmer's are the best - they're classic and the recipe from which others are born. So I made a batch. The recipe is to have made 48 cookies. Even using a small ice cream scoop to create uniform cookies there's no way I will yield that many. I decide to make 16 and freeze the rest of the dough and save it for a rainy day. The only thing I do differently is that I use slightly less sugar in the recipe and then roll the balls in can sugar afterwards. I love that sugar cookie crunch.
A peanut butter cookie alone would not be good enough for my 16 year old. Instead, he tells me that they need some peanut butter and jelly to make them complete. As though I had offered something unfinished, or god forbid and Oreo without the yummy icing. I heard the pantry and refrigerator doors open, then the drawers and some rummaging through the silverware. The cutting board slams against the countertop with more force than I think he meant. There's silence. Then "Yum!"
I think he might be onto something... What about a Fluffernutter (Cookie) Sandwich? I think that's next!
Fanny Merritt Farmer's Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
1/2 cup softened *unsalted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not the unsweetened kind)
1/2 **cup sugar (Scant)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon *kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
* I use salted butter and omit the kosher salt
** I used slightly less sugar and rolled the balls in Demerara Sugar which has large crystals and offers up a nice crunch
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand blender, cream together the butter and peanut butter.
Beat in the two sugars until light, about 3 minutes.
Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once to make sure they're evenly incorporated.
Add the salt, baking soda and flour and beat just until combined. Give the dough one last fold with a spatula.
Using a small scoop, arrange the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
Use the back of a fork dipped in ***flour to gently flatten each cookie and make a crosshatch pattern.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and just firm around the edges.
Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
*** A nonstick spray works well too.
To make the PB&J sandwiches
Place cookies on a large plate, cutting board or counter flat side up. Spread peanut butter on half of the cookies and your favorite jelly or jam on the other half. (This is great with cherry and raspberry jams as an alternative to strawberry or grape jelly.)
Place one peanut butter half to a jam half and voila!