Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
The Internet abounds with cookie recipes of all types. And I for one enjoy perusing those recipes in search of something new and different. But sometimes what I really want is an old favorite, a classic cookie that I have loved for as long as I can remember. So, today I'm going to feature a recipe for one of my all time favorite cookies: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies.
This simple recipe is from my favorite baking source, King Arthur Flour. You can whip up a batch of these sturdy and substantial cookies in about an hour, start to finish. Are you ready? Here we go!
As always, we start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees so it will be ready when you have your dough mixed together. As your oven is heating up, measure out all of your ingredients. This is called mis en place and it really does help to prevent mistakes in putting your cookie dough together.
Measure out 1-1/2 cups AP flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon table salt in a bowl and set it aside. Next, in the bowl of your mixer place 1/3 cup of solid vegetable shortening (I like to use Crisco baking sticks), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of supermarket style smooth peanut butter, such as JIF or Skippy.
Side bar - this is a recipe where using a food scale to measure ingredients comes in handy. Measuring ingredients like shortening and peanut butter can be messy if you are using a measuring cup to do it. If you use a scale, however, all you have to do is scoop 7 ounces of peanut butter directly from the jar into the bowl. Similarly, you need 2 ounces of solid vegetable shortening. You know that you have the proper amount of peanut butter and shortening AND you don't have to wash the measuring cups!
Okay, so back to the recipe. Beat together the peanut butter, shortening, both sugars, the egg and vanilla until they are combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and then add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix at a slow speed until the dry ingredients are thoroughly combined with the peanut butter mixture. This is a rather dry cookie dough so it may take a few minutes for this to occur. If your dough does not seem to be coming together, add a small amount of water to the dough while the mixer is running to bring the dough together. Don't add too much water!! Just drizzle it in a little at a time. I have found that I need to add only about a tablespoon of water to bring the cookie dough together.
When your dough is ready, drop a tablespoonful of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this process, spacing your cookies about 2 inches apart. Then use a fork and make the classic cross-hatch design on top of each cookie, flattening the cookies to about 1/2 inch thick. Slide the loaded baking sheet into the oven and bake the cookies for 12 to 16 minutes until the edges of the cookies are barely brown. These cookies will really puff up in the oven. Be careful not to over bake them. You want them to have that chewy texture in the center that is so often found in cookies made with vegetable shortening. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Mmmmmmmm! Freshly baked classic peanut butter cookies. Where's the milk? Enjoy!