When my husband and I were in the early stages of dating, I was living in Minneapolis and he was living up in the cold, frozen city of Duluth. We would drive to see each other on weekends and on Sunday when we would go our separate ways, I would hand him over a care package of baked goods (I was convinced there weren't any decent bakeries in Duluth). In it contained what he has since told me were, "the peanut butter cookies that won him over." They are a simple no fuss, no frills but darn it if they aren't the best peanut butter cookie you've ever tasted... no really...
Husband-Winning Peanut Butter Cookies
3/4 cup Jif Peanut Butter (Yes, it has to be Jif!)
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg, at room temperature)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper
Cream the peanut butter, shortening, butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Add the milk, vanilla and egg, and blend just until combined.
Add flour, salt and baking soda. (Note: You can pre-mix them in a separate bowl, but for this recipe we find as long as the salt and baking soda layer in on top of the flour before mixing, it turns out just fine!) Blend until flour is combined, scrape bowl and mix 20 seconds more.
Place bowl in freezer for at least a half hour. An hour is preferable (this dough will keep splendidly in the freezer for several months).
Use a 1/4 cup scoop to place balls of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
Place in oven and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate pans front to back and top to bottom in oven and bake for 5 minutes more.
Remove promptly from oven and slide parchment paper onto cooling racks. (Note: Keeping them on the pan will continue baking the cookie, leaving you with a more crumbly texture, which although is still tasty, isn't as husband-winning. )
Let sit for 2 minutes on parchment and press with a potato masher. It will create uniform markings on your cookies and presses the gooey centers down keeping your cookie moist and delicious. Cool and enjoy! They will keep up to a week in an airtight container, if you can keep your hands out of the cookie jar!
Note: It is essential that your dough be chilled before baking. Because of its (delicious) fat content, the dough doesn't ever freeze rock solid, which means you can make it a day ahead and toss it in the freezer without worry. If the batter is warm, even a little, it will spread and give you thinner cookies which will taste the same, but the texture of a large chewy cookie is a little nicer and makes for a prettier cookie!
It's guaranteed to win over the hearts of the young and old alike! Enjoy!
(Images: Sarah Rae Trover)