Make Ahead

Peanut Butter Cookies

December  1, 2011
15 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Author Notes

So, this post is coming a little late in the game. For months now, Amanda has been saying I should write a blog post about all of the cravings I've had over the course of my pregnancy. (For those of you who have been asking, I'm due January 15th, and we're expecting a little girl.) And for months I've resisted.

Perhaps this is because, for the most part, my cravings haven't been all that weird. Sure, for the first few months when I wasn't feeling great, I subsisted on lemonade and pickles, and there was that brief phase where I simply had to stop and get an order of Rickshaw dumplings on my way home from the office most nights (my pre-dinner dinner). But for the most part, I've been enjoying most of the same food I normally eat–just slightly more of it.

The one thing I have craved pretty much consistently over the past 8 months is cookies. I've always liked cookies of pretty much all sorts, but lately they've become a bit of an obsession–especially when I can enjoy them with a tall glass of milk. Over the next few weeks, as I approach my due date, I thought I'd share some of my all-time favorite cookie recipes with all of you. I figured the timing couldn't be better with the holidays already upon us, and it's great excuse to revisit some of the cookie recipes from my childhood, which were made with love and dexterity by my wonderful mother.

What I'd really like, though, is for all of you to share your favorite pregnancy craving stories in the comments section below–and, if you're feeling up to the challenge, add any craving-inspired recipes to Food52. Got a great lemonade up your sleeve? Fantastic hot fudge sundae? Something genius using pickles and/or peanut butter? We want to see these creations! And keep in mind, we're always on the hunt for Wildcards... Just sayin'.

My mother used to make these cookies regularly when I was growing up, and they continue to be the standard to which I compare all other peanut butter cookies. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (First Edition). —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not the unsweetened kind)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand blender, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Beat in the two sugars until light, about 3 minutes.
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl once to make sure they're evenly incorporated. Add the salt, baking soda and flour and beat just until combined.
  3. Give the dough one last fold with a spatula. You can chill the dough and then roll it into balls (about 3/4-inch in diameter), or arrange heaping teaspoonfuls of the soft dough directly on parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Use the back of a fork dipped in flour to gently flatten each cookie and make a crosshatch pattern
  4. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and just firm around the edges. Let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. These will keep in an airtight container for several days, but they are best while fresh!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michael
  • Shannon
  • SophieL
  • adnam
  • matsume

62 Reviews

Michael December 17, 2018
A perfect recipe. The key to this recipe is chilling the dough before rolling in to balls. The cookies are firm on the outside and soft on the inside.
Shannon December 5, 2017
Thank you so much. THEY are my most requested Holiday cookies
SophieL April 24, 2017
These were so easy and so good - just the right sweetness and not salty at all. I used Espresso Nib Peanut Butter made by Eliot's Adult Nut Butters and the cookies were being gobbled up while the third sheet pan was still in the oven. I also have a jar of Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter and will try this recipe with that (maybe reduce the sugar a little bit). Recipe made exactly 4 doz cookies, using my smallest scoop. The dough was too soft, though, for the cross-hatch marks to keep its shape. Nobody had any problems with that!
adnam November 22, 2016
I really love this recipe--just made it for the second time this week. A few tips to those who are concerned about bake time: If you make the cookies any larger than called for (heaping teaspoons), you'll come away with fewer cookies which will need 5-10 mins longer in the oven--I did this on my first run, not realizing the size I should have been looking for when shaping the balls. As I learned today on my second bake, if you size the dough as the recipe instructs it DOES really only take 10-12 minutes to get the perfect texture. Don't worry if you pull them out and they seem totally squishy: They firm up within 5 minutes of cooling. If you leave them in the oven too long, you may get a brittle cookie after it cools. Either way, though, the taste is wonderful, so you really can't go wrong.

One other thing I'll say is you can forego the salt entirely if your peanut butter has some salt in it already. That should take care of what some people are saying about the dough coming out too salty. I left out the salt both times on my bakes and they came out perfectly.
matsume February 25, 2016
Just finished making these cookies for my son's school fair. I had to make them in 3 separate batches. First batch, I baked them for 15 minutes as I had read everybody's reviews about timing plus they didn't look browned and they were soft to the touch. But after cooling down, they came out too crunchy and almost salty. The second and third batch, I bake for exactly 10 minutes and although they were still very soft and very light in colour, once cooled, they were perfectly crisp on the outside but chewy and soft on the inside. They also tasted nuttier and sweeter ( who new!). This was all done with a conventional oven without the fan at 170 C. Trust the recipe ladies, they really are yummy! Oh, I did end up changing the sugar to ¾ brown sugar and ¼ white.
Elizabeth February 2, 2016
did anyone else have to cook them for more than 10 minutes?
nikki August 20, 2015
mine turned out quite salty even when i added the correct amount of salt... not sure went wrong
Bonny S. March 17, 2015
Thank you Merrill for this recipe and also the Crispy Crunchy Oatmeal cookie. My Granddaughter is a missionary and she will love both of these. I send her care packages all the time. I was looking for some new recipes and these fit the bill just great.
krystine February 24, 2015
Perfect lunchbox cookies. Even though I'm not eating them out of a lunchbox haha
kumalavula January 30, 2015
things like this don't have with any type of frequency in my kitchen but something went wrong with these. it's puzzling since so many people have comments don how great they were but the dough was sticky even after being chilled and the cookies that came out of the oven smelled great but were so flat and brittle.
i did end up baking them a little longer than the prescribed 10 min because they were nowhere near done but my inner baker tells me something just isn't right.
Merrill S. January 30, 2015
Hmm, not sure what to say. They shouldn't be super-flat, and while they're crumbly I wouldn't call them brittle. What kind of peanut butter did you use?
Monica June 7, 2017
You cooked them too long. They'll set up once they cool, if you cook them past the intended time, you'll get a brittle cookie.
Veronica January 22, 2015
I made theses cookies today and they are very good! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
richard P. December 6, 2014
I love anything with Peanut Butter... I cannot decide if I like this cookie better or the "All I want for Christmas Peanut Butter cookie by Mrs Wheelbarrow! Thank you for this recipe and all the others you have on this site! Just wonderful.
nfields July 26, 2014
can i use self rising flour and leave out the baking soda?
Elena July 24, 2014
These were sooo good! I literally JUST took 'em out of the oven, and the cookies were still warm and a little gooey! Perfect!
Claire July 23, 2014
I made these last night, they cooked perfectly in ten minutes and have a very soft cakey (but not gooey) texture. Only thing I did differently was that I added a little almond extract... which I think they would have been better without. Great, easy recipe!
Merrill S. July 23, 2014
Glad you liked it! And that texture sounds perfect.
Ceege May 21, 2014
Here's a hing for those of you sending to troops overseas. Save Pringle cans. Wash out, rinse and dry with a clean cloth (you will have to use a knife handle to get the bottom.) I like to dry at least overnight. You may have to experiment a bit to get the right size cookie for the cans. Gently pack the cold cookies in cans. The cans can be placed in a box (be sure the box is tightly packed. Cookies will arrive in one piece instead of crumbs. We make many cookies at our church for our servicemen/women. We actually cover the cans with a pretty piece of wrapping paper (use two sided tape to hold paper in place)....paper accordingly to the holiday you are sending....valentines, christmas, etc. (Our boxes hold 4 cans of cookies and we send multiple types of cookies. Oh and by the way, this recipe is fabulous.
Bonny S. March 17, 2015
I love this tip. Thank you so much for sharing.
Bonny S. March 17, 2015
I send cookies to my Granddaughter who is a missionary this will work really well for those cookies. I usually pack the box with popcorn but this will save me a lot of time.
mandy January 24, 2014
These cookies were simply amazing! I only got 1 and a half dozen from the recipe though instead of the four dozen that it says. These cookies are seriously so delicious, easy and quick!
MrsPrincess07 December 23, 2013
Thanks for the review, it was a life saver! I made a recipe about 15 minutes ago from The Joy of Cooking and the texture and smell alone was enough to throw it out. Not having made PB Cookies in over 10 yrs I forgot how they came together. Your recipe is much different and the dough came together perfectly. I have them rolled in a ziplock bag waiting to be baked tomorrow before the Challah and Turkey!
celine December 16, 2013
just perfect.
soandso September 23, 2013
My mother's recipe which was my favorite is almost identical to this one of yours, but mine uses a cup of peanut butter. Once you realize how nutty a cookie can be, all others pale in comparison. Makes all others taste like something's missing! Try a whole cup, and don't be stingy! You won't regret it!