Recipe Review

Why These “Perfect” Peanut Butter Cookies Aren’t Worth Your Time

updated May 22, 2020
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Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

Many people know and love King Arthur Flour for their outstanding line of products — flours, cocoa powders, baking mixes, and more. But their collection of online recipes is equally as impressive, filled with hundreds of reliable baking recipes for beginners. So when it came time to pick out recipes for our peanut butter cookie recipe showdown, I knew I wanted to add King Arthur Flour’s to the mix.

What intrigued me most about their recipe is that it relies on vegetable shortening, rather than butter, for its fat source. In my experience, cookies made with shortening tend to be chewier and softer — which is exactly how I like my peanut butter cookies. And with a 4.6/5 average rating and multiple reviews describing them as “perfect,” I assumed I was in good hands. Here’s what happened when I gave them a go.

Get the recipe: King Arthur Flour’s Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Credit: Images: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make King Arthur Flour’s Peanut Butter Cookies

You’ll begin by beating together shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and peanut butter until smooth. To that you’ll add flour, baking soda, and salt and beat until completely combined. The recipe states that at this point, you should add water “only if necessary” to help the dough come together, but my dough was extremely dry and desperately needed moisture, so I added about four tablespoons. After a bit more mixing the dough finally formed a cohesive mass.

Once the dough comes together, portion it into tablespoon-sized balls and place them onto a greased and parchment-lined sheet tray. Use a fork to the flatten the cookies and create a cross-hatch pattern, or the bottom of a food processor “pusher” for a circular pattern. Bake until lightly browned, then transfer them onto a cooling rack.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of King Arthur Flour’s Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Unfortunately, these cookies were dry, and their taste was underwhelming. The recipe states that the dough will be “quite stiff” when making it, but it was far beyond stiff — it was dry and crumbly. Even after adding the optional water, it was hard to portion the dough into balls with smooth edges, and it was even harder to flatten them with a fork without them falling apart.

After baking, the cookies were sandy, grainy, and rough. The flavor was fine — like a run-of-the-mill classic peanut butter cookie — but the texture was just way too unpleasant to get around. I thought I must have made a mistake when making them, so I actually made the dough a second time and paid close attention to my measuring — but yet again the dough was incredibly dry. The shortening also made them taste dull. They weren’t bad, just underwhelming. I sadly will not be making this recipe again.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making King Arthur Flour’s Peanut Butter Cookies, a Few Tips

1. Measure out your shortening before measuring out the other ingredients. This might sound silly, but it’ll prevent you from having to wash out the measuring cups multiple times. And the little bit of grease left in the measuring cup will help all the other ingredients slide right out.

2. Add water to the dough. The recipe notes that if your dough is too dry you can add a little bit of water until a cohesive dough forms. My batch needed a lot of water to come together (about 4 tablespoons’ worth) and it was still very dry.

3. Use the bottom of a glass or a potato masher to create fun patterns on top. I just used a fork to flatten my cookies, but the photo on the King Arthur Flour website shows them imprinted with fun patterns. If you’re in the mood to make your cookies look Insta-worthy, try flattening them with various objects in your kitchen to give them a nice pattern. King Arthur Flour recommends using the bottom of a food processor pusher to give them a spiral pattern.

4. Check the cookies after 10 minutes of baking. The recipe instructs you to bake these cookies for 12 to 16 minutes, but because the dough is so dry I took them out after only 12 minutes and still thought that they were slightly overdone. If I were to bake these again I would check them after only 10 minutes to see if they were set.

Rating: 3/10

Have you ever baked King Arthur Flour’s peanut butter cookie recipe? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Image: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn