Peanut butter cookies fall into two camps: There are the cookies that are sweet and chewy but have minimal peanut butter flavor (which is obscured by significant amounts of sugar and butter), and there are the crumbly, sandy cookies that have strong peanut flavor owing to lots of peanut butter and not very much flour. We wanted a peanut butter cookie that was the best of both worlds—crisp around the edges and chewy in the center, with a buttery, sweet, and deeply peanutty flavor. We added peanut butter to our dough until we reached 1 cup; any more and the cookies were dense and heavy. To increase nuttiness without adding more peanut butter, we used extra-crunchy peanut butter and then mixed in a cup of salted dry-roasted peanuts, which we processed to fine crumbs. The extra peanuts and salt gave the cookie a strong roasted-nut flavor without sacrificing its wonderful texture. Finally, we thought of one last way we could further accentuate the cookie’s nuttiness: sugar. We had been using granulated sugar, but a combination of granulated and brown sugars proved best. The white sugar yielded crisp-edged cookies, while the brown sugar’s deep molasses notes underscored the peanut flavor. We prefer extra-crunchy peanut butter for these cookies, but crunchy peanut butter or creamy peanut butter also works.
- Yield: 24 Cookies
- 2½ cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl. Pulse peanuts in food processor to fine crumbs, about 14 pulses.
- Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter and beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in ground peanuts until incorporated. Give dough final stir by hand to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
- Working with 3 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Using fork, make crosshatch design on cookies. (Raw cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month; bake frozen cookies in 300-degree oven for 17 to 22 minutes.)
- Bake cookies until edges are golden and centers have puffed but are beginning to deflate, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.