How To Make Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

How To Make Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

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Meghan Splawn
Aug 9, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Of all the iconic cookies — chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodle — a really reliable, chewy peanut butter cookie has always eluded me. Some recipes bake up a tender, crisp cookie or a snappy cookie, and there are those recipes that call themselves chewy, but end up soft after storing.

My quest wasn't just for any peanut butter cookie, but a thick and soft peanut butter cookie that bent rather than broke when folded in two, all while delivering on the savory sweetness of the peanut butter itself. This cookie finally delivers that with an added bonus of being chock-full of peanuts and peanut butter chips, making it just the kind of cookie you want to eat with a glass of cold milk or a tumbler of Scotch.

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies: Watch the Video

How to Bake Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

The premise of a classic peanut butter cookie is pretty simple: Take a basic cookie and swap some of the butter and sugar for peanut butter to make a peanut butter-flavored cookie. Variations on this abound — there's a version with only three ingredients and no flour and a version with shortening for soft and thin cookies. Some peanut butter cookies are easy, or fast, or crisp, but my ultimate peanut butter cookie is not only soft and chewy, but also packed full of peanut butter flavor.

For Your Information: Peanut Butter Cookies 411

  • This recipe calls for 8 ounces smooth peanut butter, peanut butter chips, and chopped peanuts.
  • Heat the oven to 325°F.
  • Bake these cookies for 10 to 12 minutes.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Putting the Chew in Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Use more flour and brown sugar for a chewier cookie: Many cooks swear by a high-gluten flour when the goal is chewiness, but I almost never keep this on hand. Instead, use a high portion of all-purpose flour and brown sugar to start these peanut butter cookies on the path to chewiness.
  • Use the classic cookie creaming mixing method: Much like a cake, the fats (butter and peanut butter) are mixed with the sugars. Then eggs are added, and finally the dry ingredients and mix-ins. Using this method for mixing helps contribute to the cookie's soft texture.
  • Mix it, mix it real good: What's different about this recipe is the amount of mixing time called for after adding the flour — we want to develop some chewiness in the form of gluten.
  • Scoop, flatten, and #hashtag. This is the most fun part: Scoop the dough into two-tablespoon portions. You can literally scoop with an ice cream scoop, or just use a spoon and roll the portions into balls. Lightly flatten the balls with your hand and then use the tines of a fork to make a cross-hatch pattern on the cookies.
  • Bake low and slow: A low oven temperature helps the cookies spread a bit in the oven, contributing to caramelization (more chewiness) and prevents them from overbaking. They should be just golden around the edges and lightly puffed.

Storing and Serving Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

You need very little instruction for enjoying peanut butter cookies — you can eat them while warm from the oven with a cool glass of milk. Personally I've fallen in love with a single peanut butter cookie and a neat glass of Scotch at the end of a long day.

What's most important is storing your cookies so they do not get stale and lose their chew. Avoid cookie jars and instead store your cookies in an airtight storage container. For really long-term storage, tuck a slice of bread in the container alongside the cookies — the cookies will stay moist and chewy by absorbing the moisture from the bread.

How To Make Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 24 to 28 (2 3/4-inch) cookies

What You Need

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup smooth peanut butter (about 8 ounces)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped

Equipment
Measuring cups and spoons
Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
Mixing bowl
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Parchment paper
2 baking sheets
Fork
Cooling racks

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the baking sheets. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds, then heat to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  3. Cream the peanut butter and butter together with the sugars. Place the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat at medium speed until lightened in color and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla. Stop and scrape down the bowl to ensure everything is evenly combined.
  5. Add the flour. With the mixer off, add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer onto low speed to incorporate the flour. Once fully incorporated, beat the dough on medium speed for a full 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in the chopped peanuts and peanut chips. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. Add the peanut butter chips and peanuts and fold into the dough by hand with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  7. Scoop and press the cookie dough. Drop 2-tablespoon scoops of the dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 cookies per sheet. Use the tines of a fork to flatten and press a hashtag mark onto each of the cookies.
  8. Bake the cookies. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back, then bake until the cookies appear dry and are just beginning to brown around the edges, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  9. Cool the cookies. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto cooling racks and cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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