“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”- James A Garfield

Peanut butter, I have never been one to swoon over the nutty spread. You will never catch me eating it out of the jar with a spoon, I have always preferred jam. I keep it on hand to make quick peanut sauces for stir-fry’s and I may go through one jar a year (I am sure many of you are gasping in shock and awe as Pb has a very big and very loyal following) . The only time I have truly loved peanut butter (besides as a child enjoying sand-dusted Pb and banana sandwiches at the beach) is at 2 am on the back-shift when paired with the squishy white bread often found in hospitals. At 2 am it is a savior, tasting better than anything you have ever tasted, helping you catch a second wind and make it through until the sun is up and your relief is waiting for report with coffee in hand.

This all changed last week when I decided to make a Halloween treat for my hard-working coworkers. I was stumbling through recipe books and web pages when I found Smitten Kitchen’s newest recipe for a simple peanut butter cookie. You know, one of the three or four ingredient varieties. Except these looked nothing like the ones I have made with the recipe off the back of the jar. These were tall, puffy mounds with a beautiful cracked crust on the top, these looked like the ultimate peanut butter cookie. The kind of peanut butter cookie that could possibly make a convert out of even the most persnickety of peanut butter eaters. Her ingredients were simple; eggs, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla. No different than the ones on the back of the jar, even with the same ratio! So what made hers so special? Well she switched traditional white sugar for brown sugar. She also added a touch of sea salt (which makes for an almost religious taste-bud experience, trust me). She also chilled the dough before scooping and then chilled again right on the sheet before baking. This helps prevent cookie spread and helps them keep their tall shape. In turn this also allows the outside to crisp up and the inside to remain soft and chewy. Win, win, win. These are some of the better cookies I have ever made. They took no time (with exception of chilling) and they were an absolute hit at work. Happy baking all, I may just have to buy myself  second jar of peanut butter.

-m

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Smitten Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Cookies (The salted kind….DELISH!)

You will need…

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of smooth peanut butter (Kraft or Skippy or something along those lines)
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla or almond extract ( I was out of vanilla and the almond was incredible)
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl whisk eggs, vanilla and sugar together. Add peanut butter and mix well (I used my mixer and paddle blade). Place dough in freezer for 15 minutes, stirring half way through. When dough sufficiently chilled, use cookie scoop (#40) or drop from a teaspoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt and place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a further 15 minutes. Place in oven right from the freezer and bake for 14-15 minutes, until edges are brown. Cool on wire rack (if they are hard to lift let them sit for a couple of minutes on the pan) and allow to cool completely before enjoying with a large glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee. Nom, nom, nom.

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