Weeknight Cooking

All I Want For Christmas Peanut Butter Cookies

October 17, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Peanut Butter Cookies


On many a Saturday afternoon, there is a gentle knock at the door, and my entire family knows that deliciousness waits on the other side. It is MrsWheelbarrow, toting a left over apple tart from a class she just taught, a stick of cured meat that none of us should be eating, or maybe some contraband cheese from France.

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She sits down at the table, gleefully unwraps her goodies, and politely ignores the dirty soccer cleats, the pile of coffee cups and the bowl of whatever I was mixing up for a bake sale perched precariously on a pile of newspapers nearby. Ours is a chaotic household, and MrsWheelbarrow brings a small spot of the ordered universe that is her kitchen to our home.

It has been that way since literally the first day we moved here, 14 months ago, when MrsWheelbarrow, having yet to meet me in the non-virtual world, left a tomato plant and jars of her delicious preserves on our porch. Knowing I was bereft over the loss of my fall farmer’s markets in Los Angeles, she quickly gave me the D.C. tour. When it came time to plan a family event, she steered me to the perfect barbecue shack. In short, MrsWheelbarrow embodies goodness, and so, as anyone who has tried her recipes can attest, does her food.

So recently, when I asked one of the technology guys at the office -- who did me a solid concerning an expensive type of telephonic equipment and water damage, ahem -- what type of cookies he liked, and he said peanut butter, I was thrilled to see that MrsWheelbarrow has posted one such recipe on the site.

I will pause to say that I have made many of the peanut butter cookies on Food52, and I have enjoyed them all, largely because I feel peanut butter and sugar go together like Malibu and a surfboard. But All I Want For Christmas Peanut Butter Cookies are one-extra-step special, with the delirious-making addition of more sugar and more peanut butter in the form of frosting.

I began where instructed, with a nice hunk of unsalted Plugrá, and commercial peanut butter. I then followed the instructions carefully, sifting up my dry ingredients as my butters and sugars mixed, and then adding the eggs and vanilla. I folded the dry ingredients into the wet by hand, to avoid over mixing. MrsWheelbarrow instructs you to make these cookies on the small side because they are so rich, but I was a bit heavy of the hand and made standard-sized guys. You should probably do as she says.

I am not going to dwell on the part where I removed one sheet pan from the oven only to have it slip out of my hand, dumping peanut butter cookies into the oven hinge and all over the floor, and the screaming and yes maybe a little bit of crying that ensued. Because I moved on.

While my remaining cookies cooled, I washed out my mixing bowl and went on to the sandwich cream, which is a sort of standard butter cream infused with the addition of a peanut butter and chocolate chip mess that will make your head explode. Frosting these guys was fun, and they look lovely, especially tucked into a paper box with some tissue paper, if they are a gift.

Mr. Tech Man smiled politely as I handed them to him. I think maybe he thought he was getting a wrapped box of Nutter Butters? I waited a bit, because I knew what was coming.

Ping ping! “Holy Smokes, Those stinkin’ Peanut Butter Cookies are the best!!!!!!!!! Wow, they are good.” (All words and punctuation verbatim from the email. I am a cookie-loving aggregator!!)

I knew just how he felt. Divine cookies are like a special friendship -- they find you when you don’t expect it, and maybe when you need it the most.

All I Want For Christmas Peanut Butter Cookies by MrsWheelbarrow

Makes 4 dozen

Peanut Butter Cookie:

6 ounces unsalted butter, best quality

3/4 cups creamy peanut butter (I use Jif - do not use natural peanut butter)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 vanilla bean, scrape seeds

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

  2. Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together until lightened.

  3. Add egg, beat to combine, then add vanilla bean. Beat well until combined and lightened.

  4. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Fold into butter mixture thoroughly, but gently.

  5. Place rounded teaspoons of dough on the sheet pan, about 2" apart, and press down gently with a fork or with two floured fingers.

  6. Bake about 10-12 minutes, until barely golden on top, and golden brown on the bottom. The cookies will be very soft, so don't fuss with them until they cool.

  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely while you make the sandwich cream.

Sandwich Cream:

8 tablespoons butter

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or miniature chips

4-6 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Beat the sugar, butter and peanut butter together.

  2. Stir in vanilla and chocolate. Add cream until smooth enough to spread.

  3. Put the little cookies together, gluing one half to the other with a very generous schmear of sandwich cream. If you are very lucky, there will be broken halves, or uneven numbers - as that means a little snack for the baker.

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


jenniebites July 10, 2012
I'm a sucker for a cookie with a good story. These are great. I did peanut butter filling in half of the cookies, and Nutella in the other half. Love them!
Veronika M. November 1, 2011
I too would like to know the answer to the natural peanut butter question. I won't use processed peanut butters, so can I do anything to alter the natural stuff to make it work here? Add sugar maybe?
Ghost H. October 29, 2011
I just made these tonight. I am wondering why the recipe writer tells not to use natural peanut butter. Any scientific reason behind it? These are indeed rich, I should have made them as cute mini cookies! Was I not supposed to use "baking" chocolate chips?
Meatballs&Milkshakes October 24, 2011
If I don't have a lot of time and I'm looking to cut some corners, are these almost as good straight out of the oven without the frosting? I wanted to make something for a dinner party but I don't have as much time as I would like to make the dessert...
Jane E. October 23, 2011
Peanut butter anything was my mother's favorite. I am going to make these and I'll bet I can raise her from the dead. They look very, very good.
Jestei October 23, 2011
Hey everyone: I am having some problems with the reply to comment function right now so I can't respond to each person individually as I would like but I thank you all for these lovely comments and I really hope you get a chance to make these great cookies. By the way a teaspoon of vanilla is a perfectly fine substitute for the bean. xx oo jenny
Bevi October 21, 2011
Does MrsWheelbarow ever visit Vermont? These cookies sound heavenly, like MrsWheelbarrow.
Jestei October 23, 2011
i think she does actually
Reanna October 20, 2011
I don't know how to save this recipe :(
drbabs October 20, 2011
Click on the name of the recipe and you'll see the save button on the left of it.
doats68 October 19, 2011
I'm saving this recipe to make on my next baking day. I still have two other recipes from this site to make first. These sound fabulous!
MizzouMom October 18, 2011
Diabetic. Can't touch it. But I WILL make these and get them to a deserving friend before sundown.
My mom can't cook and peanut butter from a jar IS the family recipe. Thanks!
Jestei October 19, 2011
that's excellent. thanks for sharing that!
phyllis October 17, 2011
Lovely article and delicious cookies. Jenny is lucky; I miss having having a cooking friend.
Jestei October 19, 2011
i am it is true
fiveandspice October 17, 2011
Aw. Lovely. We do all need a MrsWheelbarrow in our lives. A Jenny too! :)
Jestei October 19, 2011
thank you!!
nannydeb October 17, 2011
I always look forward to your articles and I love when it's a recipe that I've missed somehow like this one! Thanks again!
Jestei October 19, 2011
thanks for trying it!
sygyzy October 17, 2011
Did the new site design add a new "feature" that automatically links user profiles? Or did you hyperlink mrswheelbarrow five times?
boulangere October 17, 2011
Now this is how to gild a lily. Lovely story. Lovely people.
boulangere October 18, 2011
Are you sure that was your kitchen you were describing? It sounds very much like mine.
susan G. October 17, 2011
While other aspects have been covered, and I agree -- I love the 2nd paragraph. Usually FOOD52 takes us to a serene place where we cook and bake like angels, but here's the reality check!
mcs3000 October 17, 2011
Beautiful piece. Everyone should have a Mrs. Wheelbarrow in their lives. There is a bakery in SF that makes a double-decker PB cookie. It is my fave, but it is out of the way. These sound wondrous and will save me a trip. Thank you both!
Midge October 17, 2011
There's nothing like a gift of homemade goodness to make you feel welcome or appreciated. What lovely gestures on both your parts. I've had my eye on this recipe for a while, but I feel like ditching work and whipping up a batch right now.
WinnieAb October 17, 2011
I just love every word of this piece, and envy the two of you and your Saturday mornings! ps curious as to what happens if you use natural peanut butter???
MrsWheelbarrow October 17, 2011
In my experience, natural pb is too oily and the cookie's texture suffers. - Cathy
boulangere October 18, 2011
I agree. I used to be all virtuous with pb cookies, using only the natural stuff. The texture suffered, and peanutbuttery taste just wasn't there. I wish you were my neighbor, Mrs. W.
MotherWouldKnow October 17, 2011
Great story. By coincidence, last night, driving home to DC from NYC, I had a most unsatisfactory peanut butter sandwich cookie from a diner. I couldn't get the experience out of my head and was vowing to figure out how to make a truly delicious peanut butter sandwich cookie. Now I don't have to look any farther - someone up there heard my call.