Today I wanted to share a very simple change to recipe I really like! It's the fourth-to-last sentence in the directions.
½ c peanut butter
½ c butter
½ c brown sugar
½ c white sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1¼ c flour
Put peanut butter and butter in a bowl. Add sugars, beat thoroughly. Beat in egg. When all is mixed, add the soda, salt, and baking powder. Mix well, then stir in the flour. Roll into small balls, and roll these in sugar. Press criss-cross lines on top with a fork.
Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before baking.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 375° and grease a cookie sheet. Place the cookies on it, about 3 or 4 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.
Source: "La Mesa" in Confidential Chat, Boston Globe, 1963; via Something from the Oven, Laura Shapiro, 2005
Our favorite peanut butter cookie recipe has been this one from the Boston Globe. But every time we made the recipe, the cookies ran together into one big baked peanut butter slab:
And yes, sometimes we oversoftened the butter and melted it instead, which would definitely worsen the problem. But the cookies ran like this even when I softened the butter by leaving it out for a few hours like a proper cook would. But while I didn't care too much about having to cut them apart with the edge of a spatula while they were still hot, it occurred to me that one extra step might forestall that:
|If you put them in the container upside-down, you can just lift them off the lid as easily as plucking them off a plate.|
That's right, we are popping the shaped cookie dough blobs in the refrigerator for a few hours so they get good and hard before baking! I usually chilled the dough before shaping it, but it always softened a bit while I was working it in my hands. There only hard part about letting the shaped cookies refrigerate. I had to resist eating too many of these lovely chilled cookie dough bonbons.
It seems these cookies only needed some time in the refrigerator to actually look like cute round cookies instead of a formless yet tasty runny mess! This is also a perfect discovery as we get into the hottest parts of the year. You can make the cookies in the sweltering day, and then just leave them in the refrigerator until later at night when you bake them.
Granted, the fork lines reduce to subtle suggestions of a grid pattern on top, but I do not care. These are officially my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. They're crisp on the outside, very soft in the middle, and taste delicious.