peanut butter cookies

(from Rose's Christmas Cookies, William Morrow & Co., Inc. 1991)

Preheat the oven to: 375°F.
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Moist, chewy and very peanutty!

yield: about 5 dozen 1 3/4-inch cookies



  • 1 cup (measured by dip & sweep) bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (preferably Jiff)
  • 1 large egg - 3 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract . .
milk chocolate topping
  • 2 (3-ounce bars) milk chocolate*
  • 2 (3 ounce bars) bittersweet chocolate*
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
*preferably Lindt chocolate cherry preserves topping
  • 1 1/2 (12 ounce) jars Cherry Preserves
equipment - ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/4-inch cookie scoop or a measuring teaspoon.

Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Preheat oven to 375°F at least 15 minutes before baking time.

food processor method
Into a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; then whisk to mix evenly. In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugars for several minutes until very fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Add the peanut butter and process until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until incorporated.

electric mixer method or by hand
Soften the butter. Into a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine well. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars until well mixed. Add the butter and peanut butter and beat for several minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. At low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

for both methods
Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. (This keeps the dough from cracking when shaped.) Measure the dough into a 1 1/4-inch cookie scoop or 2 level teaspoons and roll it between the palms of your hands to shape 1-inch balls. Place the balls 1 1/2-inches apart on the cookie sheets. As soon as you roll each ball, use your index finger or the handle of a wooden spoon to make a depression going down almost tot he cookie sheet in the center of each ball.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and set. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period. Cool the cookies on the sheets for a few minutes or until firm enough to lift. Use a small angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. If necessary, while the cookies are still hot, use the greased handle of a wooden spoon to deepen the depressions. Fill the centers with the cherry preserves or milk chocolate toppings. While the cookies are baking, prepare the chocolate or cherry topping:

milk chocolate topping
In the upper container of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water on low heat, or a microwave on high power (stirring every 10 seconds) melt the chocolate. Remove the upper container from the heat before the chocolate is fully melted and stir until blended. Whisk in the softened butter. The mixture will thicken immediately. Do not over whisk. Use a reclosable quart-size freezer bag with one corner cut off to pipe the chocolate into the centers the cookies or use a small metal spatula to spread on a dollop. Allow the chocolate to set until firm before storing the cookies in airtight containers.

cherry preserves topping
In a microwave oven or a saucepan, heat the preserves until boiling. Strain the jelly into a small heavy saucepan. Place the cherries remaining in the strainer in the centers of the cookies. If some are crushed, piece them together. On medium heat, boil the jelly for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly until, when it is dropped from the stirring spoon, the last drops gather to form one large sticky drop that hangs from the spoon. The jelly will be reduced to about 3/4 cup. Allow the jelly to cool about 1 minute or until the bubbling stops. Spoon heaping 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons over each cherry.

store: Cookies filled with chocolate can be stacked in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies with cherry centers need to be placed in single layers in a airtight containers at room temperature. Do not cover the surface of the cookie with plastic wrap as the cherry center remains slightly sticky.

keeps: 1 month filled, several months unfilled

pointers for success

  • Use commercial peanut butter for the best texture and flavor. Homemade and health food varieties will not be as smooth.
  • Superfine sugar will result in fewer cracks in the cookie. To make your own, simply process fine granulated sugar in the food processor for a few minutes or until as fine as sand.

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