These have those perfectly burnished, fat, split-lip edges that you expect in a homemade peanut butter cookie. They are thick, almost fudgy yet in a non-chocolaty way, and somehow simultaneously sturdy and delicate. These cookies are truly an ode to peanuts, both whole and in nut butter form.
Also, again, as with the last post – please don’t go using peanut butter that you didn’t have to spend 2 minutes mixing the oil into. Jars of Skippy or Kraft need not apply. Do not interpret that as snobbery because I have certainly not been above involving those brands in my baking when called for, but trust me, this recipe demands for a better (read: oilier, fattier) butter.
BA’s Best: Peanut Butter Cookies
Taken from BA’s Best arsenal
Makes ~20 cookies
½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
¼ cup (½ stick) + 2 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 large egg + 1 large yolk, beaten to blend
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 16-oz (500 gr) jar all-natural, creamy peanut butter
Demerera or raw sugar, for sprinkling
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scatter the peanuts onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until browned and fragrant, ~8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and set aside. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter, swirling the pan often. Allow the butter to foam and eventually brown (watch the white pieces in the bottom of the pan – these are what will take on a golden-brown colour); this will take a couple of minutes at least. As soon as the butter has browned, transfer to a small bowl and chill, stirring every 5 minutes, until it has cooled and is beginning to solidify. While the butter cools, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the whole egg, yolk, white sugar, brown sugar, and ¼ cup water on high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is light and falls from the beaters in a slowly dissolving ribbon. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture, then increase the speed to high and beat for 1 full minute. Add the peanut butter, toasted peanuts, and brown butter, mixing on low speed until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 10 minutes to slightly firm up.
Roll the dough into 20 balls (each ~2 tbsp worth of dough) and transfer to 1 large or 2 smaller lined baking sheets, spacing 1 ½ inches apart. Use a wet fork to flatten the cookies to ½-inch thick circles, making a crosshatch pattern on top of each one. Cover and chill for 1 hour. While the cookies chill, arrange the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven, and set a dry ovenproof skillet on the bottom rack. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Once the cookies have chilled, sprinkle with demerara/raw sugar and flaky salt. Transfer 1 sheet of cookies to the top rack of the oven, then quickly (and carefully!) pour 1 cup of water into the hot skillet on the bottom rack. Close the door and bake the cookies for ~12-14 minutes, until the tops are golden and the edges are crisp, rotating the pan from front-to-back halfway through cooking. Cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and finish cooling completely. Repeat the baking process if using a 2nd baking sheet. Once all the cookies have been baked and cooled, you should commit yourself to a tall glass of milk and a most satisfying evening ahead of you.