If I had to use two words to describe my ideal cookie, they would be “soft” and “chewy.” And these peanut butter cookies deliver on both levels, achieving a characteristic bite without a crumbly texture. Cross-testing this recipe for Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies countless times in the last few weeks led me to discover three tried and tested tips for chewy cookie perfection:
1. Join the Dark Side
The type of sugar in your cookie dough will have a significant impact on the consistency of your cookie. All white sugar produces a crispier texture, while a mix of white and dark brown sugar yields a chewier consistency as a result of the increased molasses content (and thus stronger molasses flavor) in brown sugar.
2. Low and Slow for the Win
Crank down your oven temperature from the standard 350ºF to 300ºF. Lowering the temperature, and slightly increasing the baking time, will ensure that your cookie has ample time to evenly bake throughout without the edges becoming hard and crispy long before the center has a chance to bake.
3. Underachieve to Please
Most important of all: When in doubt, under-bake your cookies. Remove the cookies from the oven 2 to 3 minutes before the centers are fully baked, and then allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes while still on the hot cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to fully cool.
Ready for your salty-sweet fix? Grab the butter and preheat your oven for two dozen of the world’s best peanut butter cookies. Pair your creation with a tall glass of ice-cold milk, or kick it up a notch by sandwiching together two of the cookies with your favorite flavor of ice cream for irresistible ice cream sandwiches.
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Giant Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 18 min
2½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups granulated sugar, plus additional for rolling
1¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 300ºF and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, and butter and beat until grainy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the peanut butter and vanilla, beating until fluffy. (The dough will be very soft.)
In three portions, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing between each addition just until combined. (Be careful not to overmix.) Stir in the chopped peanuts.
Scoop out the dough into quarter-cup portions, rolling each portion into a ball and coating it with additional white sugar. (See Kelly's Notes.) Position the coated balls of cookie dough roughly 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes (rotating the sheet tray half-way through), or until the edges are golden and the centers appear slightly under-baked. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool while still on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to fully cool.
The less you handle the cookie dough, the better, as the warmth of your hands will quickly cause the peanut butter to melt. Store the dough in the fridge in between batches to ensure it's easy to handle.
Recipe adapted from Mrs. Fields.