Soft, sugary cookies with loads of peanut butter flavor never go out of style. These classic cookies are easy to make with pantry staples and literally melt in your mouth. You can customize them with either creamy or chunky peanut butter, or sandwich them together with whatever you like: chocolate ganache, melty marshmallows, and even more peanut butter, or top with a candy kiss or chocolate star.
I wasn’t much of a peanut butter cookie eater growing up. My mom hated pb cookies and never made them. The cookies at school were barely peanut butter flavored. I willingly gave away those hard, dry, tasteless discs to my classmates and decided I would never be a peanut butter cookie lover. Ever.
But my own kids enjoyed cafeteria peanut butter cookies (they’d improved quite a lot by then), so I decided to give them a try at home (not the cafeteria recipe, just to be clear) and suddenly I realized I really was a peanut butter cookie fan! I just needed to eat cookies that actually tasted good, had a distinctive peanut butter flavor, and wouldn’t break my teeth.
This recipe has a little less flour in it than some, so the cookies are soft, and you’ll really taste the peanut butter-and you’ll find it helpful to chill the dough a while before baking so it’s easier to handle. Criss-cross the cookie balls with a fork before baking, so they’ll spread a little and bake more evenly, but don’t over-flatten. This particular recipe yields crackly-topped cookies, so the pattern will not be visible after baking. Slightly crisp edges and chewy middles are what we’re going for, so don’t overbake. The edges of the cookies should look golden brown, firm and set, while the very middle part may still look underdone a bit. They will continue firming up on the baking sheet after they are removed from the oven. I like to add just a light sprinkle of sugar after baking as well, but I’m a sugar fanatic. Eating a stack of these warm from the oven with a big glass of milk=snack time heaven.
Here’s what I do if I’m topping these peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss or star after baking: I don’t flatten the balls of cookie dough with a fork prior to baking, and I bake the cookies a minute longer since they are thicker (just watch them). I top them with the chocolate candy immediately after they are baked.
These simple peanut butter cookies are family favorites and baked year ’round in our house. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1¼ c. flour
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ c. butter, softened
- ½ c. peanut butter
- ½ c. sugar
- ½ c. brown sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- additional sugar for rolling
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
- Step 2 In a small bowl whisk together, flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Step 3 In a medium bowl beat together butter, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla just until combined.
- Step 4 Stir in flour mixture with a spoon until no streaks remain.
- Step 5 Chill dough 30-45 minutes, until easy to handle (dough will still be soft).
- Step 6 Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll in additional sugar and place on baking sheets. Criss-cross tops of cookies with tines of fork, but don’t flatten too much.
- Step 7 Bake 8-9 minutes, just until edges are set.
- Step 8 Cool on baking sheets until firm enough to move to wire racks to finish cooling completely.
- Step 9 Store tightly covered at room temperature.