Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies: A Classic Favorite
There are few things as universally loved as freshly baked, warm, and gooey peanut butter cookies. They’ve been a staple in households and bakeries for generations, but there’s something undeniably special about making them by yourself. So today, we’re going to share a tried-and-true recipe for these delicious treats as well as delve into the history and interesting facts surrounding this all-time favorite cookie.
Ingredients for Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup (250g) smooth or crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup (220g) brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Use the best quality peanut butter you can find for baking. It’s the star of the show, and its flavor will dictate the overall taste of your cookies. You can use smooth or crunchy peanut butter, depending on your preference for texture.
Steps to Prepare Your Peanut Butter Cookies
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, brown sugar, and softened butter until light and fluffy. This may take a few minutes. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer if available.
2. Blend in the egg and vanilla extract. Ensure the mixture is well combined, and there are no streaks of egg or vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until everything is combined and a sticky dough forms.
4. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
5. Roll the cookie dough into small balls (about 1-inch in diameter) and place them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a few inches of space for the cookies to expand during baking.
6. Use a fork’s tines to press down on each cookie dough ball, making a crisscross pattern. This signature pattern not only looks lovely but also helps the cookies cook evenly.
7. Bake the cookies for 8–10 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden around the edges. Allow them to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
The History Behind Peanut Butter Cookies
The origins of homemade peanut butter cookies can be traced back to the United States during the early 20th century. They are an American creation, but their popularity has spread across the world. The delightful combination of sweet and salty flavors arises from ingredients like peanut butter and sugar, which were first combined in 1910 by George Washington Carver, a food scientist known for his research on peanuts.
Peanut butter cookies gained more fame when they appeared in a 1930s cookbook published by Pillsbury. The recipe used there was already quite similar to the one we use today, with just a few small differences. As time went on, the recipe evolved, and the classic crisscross pattern we associate with peanut butter cookies became a staple in the 1930s and 1940s baking culture.
Fun Facts and Curiosities about Peanut Butter Cookies
– The National Peanut Butter Cookie Day is officially celebrated every year on June 12.
– The world’s largest peanut butter cookie was baked in 2003 by Trains Restaurant and Farm in Plainview, Texas. It measured 36 feet in diameter and reportedly contained over 3,000 pounds of peanuts.
– The Guinness World Record for “Most Peanut Butter Cookies Baked in One Hour” is currently held by a passionate group of bakers who managed to bake 8,168 cookies.
Indulging in these classic homemade peanut butter cookies not only satisfies your sweet tooth but also carries on an American culinary tradition. So, whether you enjoy them as-is or with a tall glass of cold milk, know that your love for these delicious treats connects you to generations of bakers who cherished this simple yet satisfying cookie.