Recipes

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies: Adventures in Dangerous Baking

These days, you really can’t bring peanut butter cookies or peanut trail mix or even good old PB&J sandwiches into a lot of schools.

One of my daddy friends tells me that his daughter’s school has banned not only peanuts, but homemade snacks in general. So put away your family’s favorite recipe for lemon bars. School treats must now be individually packaged snack foods.

Great for food manufacturers. Lousy for parents who want to cook with their kids and demonstrate the value of the homemade.

In addition to a general fear of food allergies (a fear that some people feel has been exaggerated as of late), birthday treats are also apparently to blame for making America’s children blobby.

Again, my friend’s progressive school has banned birthday treats as a way to remedy this issue. Thank goodness childhood obesity isn’t the result of too much soda pop, fast food, candy-stocked vending machines and a general lack of exercise.

Knowing all this, I feel that one of the more dangerous acts one can undertake these days is making and (gasp!) distributing peanut butter cookies.

As I was feeling a bit puckish just recently (and the temperature dropped down for long enough to make baking palatable), I whipped up a batch of these little danger discs.

Salty, sweet, creamy and rich… I love ‘em. And there’s a million recipes out there.

I find the Joy of Cooking version is more sandy-cakey and the Better Homes & Gardens one is more crispy.

I tend more toward the crispy, myself. Here’s my version. Bake and consume at your own risk.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies (Makes about 35-40)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, as you prefer) 1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or, just use AP)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
White sugar, for squashing (optional)

  1. Beat together butter, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract.
  2. Sift together flour, soda and baking powder, and combine with the peanut butter mixture.
  3. Cover mixing bowl and chill for 1 hour, or wrap well and freeze until you’re ready to bake.
  4. Heat the oven to 375°F, and roll the dough into 1" balls. Place each ball about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Compress each ball with the tines of a fork. You may wish to dip the fork in white sugar between impressions, since it makes the tops sparkley with sugar. Or not. It’s up to you.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes and try to let them cool a little on a wire rack before you devouring them with cold milk.

Happy Eating!

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