Recipe Review

Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies Are Shockingly Simple Yet Seriously Delicious

updated May 31, 2020
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Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

If there’s one person I trust to write a solid recipe, it’s Alton Brown. That’s especially true when it comes to cookies, considering his chewy chocolate chippers took home top prize in our chocolate chip cookie battle. So when I came across his recipe for chewy peanut butter cookies in his cookbook Everyday Cook, I knew it would be a shoo-in for our peanut butter cookie showdown. The gluten-free recipe only calls for seven ingredients and comes together in just one bowl — surprisingly simple for the ultimate food nerd.

Would Alton become a two-time cookie champ, or would peanut butter prove to be his weakness? Here’s what happened when I tried the recipe at home.

Get the recipe: Alton Brown’s Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Credit: Images: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Alton Brown’s recipe is super simple and takes very little time to make. You’ll start by stirring together peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add an egg, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt, and stir until a dough forms. Roll the dough into one-ounce balls and place onto two parchment-lined sheet trays. Flatten them with the tines of a fork, bake until the cookies are lightly browned, then let cool for two minutes. They take about five minutes to make and only dirty one bowl. A true win-win.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

This recipe is the perfect example of a low-effort, high-reward recipe. The dough was moist, pliable, and smooth, and even though it didn’t call for any flour, it held together perfectly. The cookies spread nicely and there was no need to chill the dough. Out of the oven, they looked perfectly cracked and slightly puffed, and the fork patterns remained prominent.

The texture of these cookies was phenomenal. They were very chewy, as promised, and almost bendable, like a sugar cookie. You could bite into them without them falling apart, which I liked, and they remained moist and pleasantly soft for days.

If I had to find one thing to critique, it would be that their flavor didn’t wow me. Don’t get me wrong, they were good — perfectly salty with just a hint of vanilla, and the brown sugar gave them a subtle caramel flavor that paired nicely with the peanut butter — but there was nothing unique or unexpected at play.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Alton Brown’s Peanut Butter Cookies, a Few Tips

1. Don’t use natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter separates and tends to be oily. Instead, use a creamy variety like Jif to make sure the cookies turn out just right.

2. Use a large rubber spatula to mix the dough. Brown’s recipe instructs you to use a wooden spoon, but I found a rubber spatula was much easier.

3. Dip your fork in water to prevent the dough from sticking. To prevent your fork from sticking to the dough as you create the cross-hatched pattern, dip it in cold water before pressing it in.

4. Sprinkle the tops with flaky salt. Because these cookies are so simple, they can easily be dressed up with garnishes or mix-ins. If you have flaky salt on hand, try sprinkling it over the tops of the cookies before baking. It’ll help bring out the flavor and balance the sweetness.

Rating: 8/10

Have you ever baked Alton Brown’s peanut butter cookie recipe? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn