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sweet treats:
peanut butter
by Yee-Fan Sun

Chewy, simply flavored and deeply satisfying, peanut butter cookies are one of those classic sweets that appeal to just about everyone. My boy, in fact, claims these are his favorite cookies to eat baked (the honor for best unbaked cookie, in his opinion, goes to my chocolate chip cookies, which he has a pesky tendency of gobbling up before they even stand a chance of making it to the oven).

Because they’re so easy to make and just about universally beloved, they’re a great cookie dough to make ahead and keep frozen; next time you find yourself with an unexpected get-together to attend or folks stopping over, fresh peanut butter cookies will be yours in a snap. You can freeze all or part of the batch after shaping the cookies in step 6; just pop the shaped unbaked cookies onto a baking sheet -- no need to leave much space between them at this point. Slide into the freezer, and leave them for a few hours. When they’re frozen through, transfer to a plastic baggie or container. Bake at the temperature specified in the recipe, for an extra minute or two (keep an eye on the cookies after 9 minutes).

classic peanut butter cookies
This version is based on a recipe from my one of my favorite dessert cookbooks, the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts

1 cup salted butter, softened at room temp
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract
3 cups white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

yields 3 dozen cookies

1 Preheat the oven to 375F.
2 In a medium mixing bowl, dump in the flour, baking powder and baking soda and stir it all up with a fork. Set this bowl aside for now.
3 Get yourself a nice big mixing bowl. Slide the softened butter into this bowl. Add the peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until you have a nice, fluffy well-blended mix. (Yes, you can do it by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon if you must, but it’ll be a whole lot more effort.)
4 Working one at a time, beat in each egg and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract.
5 Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir some more to make sure everything’s well mixed. Now, gently stir or fold in the dry flour mixture into the wet mixture. Work until just mixed, making sure to scrape down the sides a couple of times; do not overstir.
6 Use a big spoon to scoop up balls of dough about 1.5” or so in diameter. Place each ball of dough on your cookie sheet, leaving about 2” of space between them (the cookies will expand quite a bit). Grab a fork, then lightly press each ball of dough with the tines of the fork both lengthwise and crosswise to make a criss-cross pattern; the flattened disc should be fairly fat still, 3/4"-1” or so thick (flatten to 1/2”-3/4” if you’re planning to freeze).
7 Slide the cookies into the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until just set. (As with most cookies, you’ll want to underbake slightly to ensure they’re soft and chewy.) Pull out the cookies and let them rest for a couple of minutes on the sheet. After they’ve had this time to firm up a bit more, transfer to a wire rack with a spatula, and let them cool completely. Pile ‘em up on a plate and enjoy!


more sweet treats for the holidays:
chocolate chip cookies | oatmeal raisin cookies | date pinwheel cookies | lemony stars | gingerbread cookies | holiday sugar cookies | chocolate truffles
plus check out the recipe index !

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