Peanut butter cookies have been a staple in American households for generations, beloved for their delicious taste, chewy texture, and the ease with which they can be whipped up in no time at all. With just three simple ingredients, you can create an unforgettable dessert that gets better with every bite. Today, we’re going to dive into a classic recipe for three-ingredient peanut butter cookie perfection and explore the story behind them.
- 1 cup (250g) smooth or crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (peanut butter, sugar, and egg) and mix them together until well blended;
- Use a cookie scoop or your hands to create uniformly-sized balls of dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet;
- Use a fork to slightly press down on each dough ball, making a crisscross pattern on the surface;
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle;
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
The History of Peanut Butter Cookies
The first recorded recipe for peanut butter cookies can be traced back to the early 20th century. In 1916, a suffragist and home economist named George Washington Carver published a booklet called “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing It For Human Consumption” as a way to promote peanuts as a valuable cash crop and a source of protein during World War I food shortages. Among those 105 ways, Carver included a recipe for peanut cookies that were similar to what we know today.
These early recipes made peanut cookies with crushed peanuts and molasses. As peanut butter grew more popular, recipes evolved to incorporate the spread, giving birth to the classic peanut butter cookie we know and love today. The iconic crisscross pattern on the surface of the cookies started to appear in the 1930s, possibly as a way to signal that the cookies contained peanuts for those with allergies.
Curiosities and Cultural Significance
Peanut butter cookies hold a special place in the hearts of Americans, who consume nearly $800 million worth of peanut butter each year. Peanut butter cookies are often associated with happy childhood memories and comfort food, given their simplicity and the fact that they’re easy enough for even young children to help make.
The combination of peanut butter and sugar has even been studied by food scientists, who found that this pairing creates a unique flavor profile known as “dynamic sensory contrast.” This is due to the way the sweetness of the sugar complements and enhances the rich, earthy taste of the peanut butter, producing a delicious and satisfying flavor experience.
As a versatile and comforting treat that can be prepared in a flash, peanut butter cookies have stood the test of time and remain a beloved dessert in the United States. By diving into the history of these chewy delights, we can truly appreciate the simple, yet scrumptious, three-ingredient peanut butter cookie perfection.