As you may remember, a batch of peanut butter cookies that I made earlier this week vanished before I had a chance to document their existence. That is, they were absolutely inhaled by my coworkers. While this might ordinarily be a good sign, it did mean that I was unable to blog about them as planned. This weekend I locked all the doors of my house and closed all the blinds and didn’t tell anyone what I was doing until these babies had had their moment in the spotlight.
And, let’s be honest, I wanted the chance to munch on a couple of them myself before they disappeared into thin air again.
Fleur de Sel Peanut Butter Cookies (creatively adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Yum Factor: Alex – 8.6 Jessalyn – 10
(I relented and let Alex start using fractions of points. I’ll stick to whole numbers for now)
– 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
– 1 cup crunchy peanut butter (no hydrogenated oils, please)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 tablespoon whole milk
– 3/4 teaspoon good vanilla extract
In case you are one who follows my recipes to the letter, I’ve been using the Whole Foods brand crunchy peanut butter–sometimes organic, sometimes not. In any case, I look for a jar where the oils haven’t yet separated from the peanuts and then pack the 1-cup measuring cup full of the stuff.
1. Beat the butter and peanut butter together until light and “fluffy.” (It won’t be fluffy because there are chunks of peanuts in it, but aside from that, it should look smooth and blended).
2. Add the sugars and beat thoroughly to combine. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Stop to scrape down the sides.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
– generous 1 cup all-purpose flour (you’ll probably want between 1 cup and 1 1/4 cups)
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– generous 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
*Note: I love fleur de sel. It’s a flaky, light sea salt with an almost sweet flavor underneath its saltiness. It’s perfect in these cookies, especially for the topping (see below) because it helps to bring out the peanutiness of the peanut butter but dissolves quickly on the tongue lending just the friendliest kisses of salt. It is a bit more expensive than other salts though. Look for it in a specialty food store or next to the other salts in your smaller grocery stores. If you don’t have any, substitute a coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Don’t have that? Just use regular salt in the recipe and just sugar for the topping*
4. Whisk together dry ingredients to combine, then slowly beat into peanut butter mixture until combined.
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
5. Scoop cookie mixture into small balls and roll between your hands to form a smooth ball. Dip in sugar/salt topping and place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes at 350F. Let cool 1 minute on pan then remove to cooling rack.
Note: You might think that they’re not quite done when you take them out. This is normal because it’s meant to be a chewy cookie. What you’re looking for is small cracks on the top of the cookie. No cracks? Let it go a minute or two longer. But once you see those cracks, take ’em out immediately.
I only have 1 baking sheet right now so it takes me about 4 rounds to get everything baked (this recipe makes almost 3 dozen cookies), but if you’re in a hurry and can only bake 1 batch, go ahead and shape and dip the others while the first batch is baking. Place the uncooked dough on a plate and store in the fridge until you need it (preferably within the next couple of days–I haven’t yet experimented with freezing this dough).
Yum yum yum yum yum.
When I was in high school, my neighbor was very particular about the yellow to brown ratio on his bananas (aren’t we all?). Our mothers would talk all the time, and I remember one afternoon his mother saying that she had caught him removing the bananas from the kitchen when they were at the peak of ripeness for him and hide them in his bedroom so that no other family members would mar their ripening perfection and he could enjoy them all to himself.
I’m not saying you have to go to that extreme, but, barring a peanut allergy, you’ll probably want to at least divide these cookies up upon baking so that everyone in your household is allotted an equal share. I’m just sayin’.