Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

There are plenty of recipes I'd like to share of things on my menu lately, and I'd even planned to write about them before the cookies, but I can't hold out on you any longer.  What I am about to give you did not originate with me but is perhaps the greatest peanut butter cookie recipe of all time. Thank you Heidi Swanson and 101 Cookbooks!

I love peanut butter.  It brings out the crazy in me, not like that's very hard.  If you haven't heard me mention it before, I have access to two brands here in Denmark.  TWO!  This is practically unthinkable when you come from the U.S., land of not only massive numbers of different brands, but peanut butter with jelly mixed in, chocolate, honey roasted nuts, unsalted, salted, and more.  And then there are all the other nut butters available that I could never dream of finding in Denmark.

It's no secret that Danes are not the peanut butter fans that we Americans are.  They eat rugbrød, a strong, dense rye bread that perhaps just isn't the best match for heavy peanut butter (although I happen to like the two together very much). Also, Danes are known to eat butter on their bread and top it with cheese and jam or cheese and meats and/or sliced veggies.  It's that whole smorgasbord thing.

But the best part is that among these lone two brands of peanut butter is an exceptional selection.  It's both natural and organic and comes in creamy and chunky.  I pay $6 for a smallish jar, but it's worth every kroner.  Alan detests peanut butter (but will easily inhale a dozen peanut butter, so I share my supply with me, myself, and I...and Anatole when he's in the mood.  Once in awhile I'll give him a teaspoon full right from the jar and he thinks that's pretty fun.

Recently I started day dreaming about peanut butter cookies.  I began my quest for the recipe by looking in cookbooks and online.  The recipe on 101 Cookbooks really caught my attention because it contains no butter, eggs, or refined sugar.  I'm not Anti any of these items, but why not go for a natural cookie if you can.  And this one totally delivers:  it's sweet (but not cloyingly so), soft, crumbly, and pure goodness in every bite.

I sprinkled sea salt on top of some and thought it was a delicious combination (but not one my family is crazy about).  On my last batch of dough I threw in a handful of chocolate chips thinking of the never fail peanut butter-chocolate chip combo, but frankly, I like the plain version better.  The cookie stands on it's own beautifully.  My other favorite part: the glossy dough is pretty, easy to work with, and makes such lovely pre-baked cookies. Baked, the cookies take on a more matte, dull finish.  But never mind because the taste more than makes up for it. So, my friends, make these cookies!

Peanut Butter Cookies

2c flour
1t baking soda
3/4t salt
1c peanut butter
1c maple syrup
1/3c olive oil
1.5t vanilla extract

350F for 8-9 minutes

Please see instructions on 101 Cookbooks

My notes:

Heidi says to use whole wheat pastry flour, spelt or all purpose.  I went with the latter because it's all I had in the house.  She also says to use finely ground sea salt, which I did, but I think table salt would do just fine.  I used natural, crunchy peanut butter.  I found that the 10-11 minute baking time in Heidi's instructions to be a minute or two too long and fared better with 8-9 minutes.  But of course ovens vary, so check yours at the 8 minute mark.  Like Heidi says, you don't want to overbake these as the result will be a dry cookie and what you're after is a slightly moist center that's just a tad darker than the outside.

Finally, in spite of the tip to refrigerate the dough for one hour for a mix to which it's easier to apply fork crosshatch marks, my dough didn't need this step.  It was so glossy and pliable that the crosshatched marks set in with no problem.  Perhaps it's because I used all purpose flour which is less dry than whole wheat.


  1. I am SOOO with you on the peanut butter. Scott could do without, but Owen has decided he's pretty much only interested in eating PB&J sandwiches these days. Good thing peanut butter toast is a breakfast staple for me.

    Frankly, I'm surprised you can get PB at all over there. Almost every american I know living over seas lists PB as one of the items they sorely miss from home, and they ask every visitor to bring them a jar when they visit from the US. =)

  2. I know, I count my lucky stars everyday that we have good peanut butter here. :-) I'd hate to have to buy my own peanut grinder on ebay. :-)

  3. I thought those cookies looked familiar and then I saw they were from Heidi Swanson´s blog. Had a look at that very recipe just the other day. Funny! I´ll have to make them soon. I can´t believe you can only get two kinds of peanut butter in your town. There´s more here in Nykøbing, but not all in the same shop. I prefer the one in your photo anyways though:-)We also get almond butter and other types of nut butter in the health shop, but I think they are so expensive, so I´ve only bought that once. How much does peanut butter and that cost in the US?

  4. Hi Kira, a good, organic, store brand peanut butter will run about half of what it costs here. The jar tends to be a bit larger too, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. Other nut butters are more expensive, and I haven't bought any in the U.S. in some time. I imagine it's closer to the price of what we pay for pb in DK.