When they say necessity is the mother of invention, they must have had peanut butter cookies in mind. The earliest documentation of the existence of peanut butter cookies, which are an American invention; dates back to the early 1900’s. This was when an educator – George Washington Carver, passionately began advocating that the farmers shift away from the cotton crop, following a heavy boll weevil attack on cotton. As a solution to this infestation, Carver called for the use of peanuts instead citing their health benefits and to further promote his cause, he compiled a recipe collection whereby all the recipes made use of peanuts as an ingredient.
The first documentation of peanut butter cookies appears in that bulletin – How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption. The recipe indicated the use of crushed peanuts as peanut butter was still inexistent. The crushed peanuts came to substituted with peanut butter later on, it the late 1920s. But ever since, peanut butter cookies have come to be a favourite snack among many, all over the world. The versatile cookie can be eaten in a variety of ways:
a) As a dry snack on its own
b) With various toppings such as strawberries and honey, sprinkled on top
c) As a sweet dessert to dull the appetite
d) As a base for other recipes such as pies
e) As a meal component for high tea
f) As an accompaniment for a beverage such as coffee
g) As a finger food during parties
• I full cup of multipurpose baking flour
• 1 tablespoonful of baking soda
• ½ of cup butter
• ½ cup of light-brown sugar
• ½ cup of white sugar
• 1/8 of tablespoonful salt
• 1 tablespoonful of vanilla
• 2 eggs – large
• ½ cup of all-natural peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, the salt and the baking soda.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter, white sugar and brown sugar together using an electric mixer.
3. Add the vanilla and mix well, then add the eggs one by one.
4. Beat thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and creamy
5. Add the peanut butter and continue mixing ensuring thoroughness in the even combination of the ingredients.
6. Slowly mix in the flour with the other ingredients
7. Beat the dough until the results is smooth and fluffed.
8. Place the dough in a container, cover with a lid and chill in the refrigerator for any amount of time ranging from an hour to 24 hours.
9. Preheat oven to 300⁰F and line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
10. Taking the chilled dough, scoop spoonfuls of reasonable size and place onto the baking sheets. The size of spoon with ultimately dictate the size of the baked cookies so one may opt for any spoon size be it a teaspoon, tablespoon or soupspoon.
11. Press the dough slightly to flatten and pierce the surface with a fork. This is done to ensure the inside cooks evenly as well; and the fork marks may be made randomly or in a pattern. The common way of doing it is making a cross shape; which has come to be a worldwide characteristic appearance of peanut butter cookies.
12. Bake the cookies for an average of 11-12 minutes.
13. Remove from oven, allow cooling for 3 minutes then transferring to a cooling rack and let the peanut butter cookies cool completely.
For a twist of extra peanut butter in the peanut butter cookies, you could substitute the all-purpose flour with low-fat peanut flour. Also, you could add ¼ cup of chopped roasted peanuts to the dough. This will make the cookies have a deeper peanut taste and chunks of peanut; similar to the chocolate morsels in chocolate chip cookies.
Toppings could be placed atop the dough dollops placed on the baking sheets. The toppings used could include chopped peanuts or bits of chopped chocolate.
In another twist, toppings could be used on the baked cookies. For this, one could use melted caramel blended with some drops of milk to prevent hardening. Or melt chocolate and some butter together and pipe the mixture through to decorate the peanut butter cookies.
On the 12th of June every year, Americans celebrate the National Peanut Butter Cookies Day. The history behind the commemoration of this day is not known, but it sure shows the popularity of this cookie variation in the region.
Among the common Peanut Butter Cookie Brands are:
• Duncan Hines –
• Nutter – by Nabisco Company
• Little Debbie – by McKee Foods
• Great American Cookies – by Global Franchise Group
In 2010, the peanut butter cookies stood at being the second most popular cookie variety; after the chocolate chip cookie. Of course, this follows the popularity of peanut butter among American families, placing the USA as the largest consumer of peanut butter cookies. On average, annual sales stand at around 600 million cookies.