Growing up in Minnesota, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents. Not only would they would watch over me while my folks were at work but they were my playmates since my elder siblings were way too cool to hang out with their baby sister :)
Sure, I admit it now; I was somewhat the quintessential baby sister feigning hurt feelings and tears when I was left out from my older siblings’ adventures. And what were the results? Comfort in the form of kind words from my grandparents followed by secret consolation treats like Fig Newtons and Andes Mint Candies—which I happily accepted. In fact, many foods have childhood memories directly associated to them.
One, for example, are Peanut Butter Cookies. They were my grandpa’s (who we called “Ôn”) favorite sweet treat that my sisters often baked for him. Sometimes they even let me make the traditional tracked prints on the top with a fork—a HUGE honor and joy for a 6 year old. To this day, I can’t eat a Peanut Butter Cookie without thinking about Ôn. And this particular recipe from Cooks Illustrated would have pleased him greatly. First discovered by my sister, this recipe has made its way as one of my favorite cookies to make. A tad laborious (like all Cooks Illustrated recipes!) but the end results are second to none and pack HUGE peanut butter flavors. Super buttery, great texture from the chopped nuts and crunchy peanut butter, slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on inside….yummy.
Delicious on its own and also as a vessel for ice cream sandwiches, I know any Peanut Butter fanatic will just L-O-V-E these.
This one’s dedicated to my gentle hearted, WWF wrestling-watching grandpa. We miss and love you, Ôn!
Super-Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies
From Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 30 Large Cookies
2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ lb. Butter, salted
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ganulated Sugar
1 Cup Extra-Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Roasted Salted Peanuts (ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs)
Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.
Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in cold water to make crisscross design. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.