Cookie of the Month: Winning with four ingredients

[I]’ve written before about how peanut butter was the nutritional foundation of my youth. For a time, early on, it’s all I would eat. My mother, concerned about my gaunt frame and lack of interest in other foods, took me to the doctor. “All she wants to eat is peanut butter,” she told him, and he, one of those good country doctors of the no-nonsense and no-alarm variety, told her, “Well, let her eat peanut butter, then.”

I have a vague recollection of this consultation. But I do remember hearing his advice, which I took it to heart. I ate peanut butter on sandwiches, on saltine crackers and from a spoon dipped into the creamy heart of a jar. I lived for the peanut inhalation of its freshly broken seal (still a favorite smell). My favorite candies had peanut butter in them (and, as a result, I went back to the doctor’s to get stitches when I slipped, running across a freshly waxed floor to show the peanut buttery insides of my Oompa Loompa candies).

It was a childhood love affair to which I will always be grateful, but, as adulthood does with many thing of youth, peanut butter was spoiled. Depending on the brand, it occasionally made my ears itch in a possible mild allergy. The overpowering smell and taste of it could sometimes make me queasy…it was too strong for my older, more sensitive tastes, and I found my way into other nut butters — almond, cashew and even sunflower seed.

But every once in awhile, I see a recipe where only peanut butter will do. And every once in awhile, still, I have a craving where only peanut butter will do. Such was the case recently, when I saw lots of online/social media promotion of a peanut butter cookie everyone was raving about.

I love peanut butter cookies, and I’ve made many. I’ve made the ones with flour and without, with fork criss-cross marks and without. I’ve made soft, chewy ones and ones so crispy, they’d give gingersnaps a run for their money.

The recipe was Ovenly’s Salted Peanut Butter Cookies, touted by some who taste-tested their way through peanut butter cookie recipes and proclaimed it the best, a textural ideal (soft/chewy/fudgy) and a taste sensation, fully peanut-buttery. The recipe has equal parts brown sugar and peanut butter…I would  bet the brown sugar could be credited for both the flavor and texture. The only other ingredients, two eggs and a bit of vanilla. Oh, yes, also a sprinkling of flaky salt for the top.

[I] set about to make these cookies one day, excited about the minimal ingredients and time involved. 

[I] was also excited about the low-to-no-tech aspects of this recipe, beginning with the blending of the eggs and brown sugar and vanilla with a WHISK (I was glad I read through that instruction before I hauled my Kitchen-Aid mixer out of its resting place).

[T]he peanut butter, which is recommended to be a mainstream brand (they tout Skippy as the best), not a goopy/oil, all-natural version — is blended into the brown sugar mixture until completely mixed in. The amount of  peanut butter in the recipe (1-3/4 cups) is pretty much equal to a standard-size jar.

[M]y first batch of these I used a grocery store brand, similar to Skippy. The cookie dough was very soft, but scoop-able, but I decided to chill the dough in the bowl a bit before doling out (the recipe recommends scooping out the cookies and then freezing them, but I don’t know anyone — especially myself — who has room in her freezer for large trays of cookies).

[T]he cookie dough scooped and released nicely on the lined baking sheet — I used a cookie scoop that was about a tablespoon, so I ended up with the about two dozen cookies (the recipe has instructions for both larger and smaller cookies0. I sprinkled a little salt on each cookie.

[T]he baking time was about 16 minutes (rotating halfway through). The cookies spread slightly but were still puffy and golden, an almost caramel color.

[C]aramel, too, in flavor, and the rich, fudge-like texture lended itself to celebrate the peanut butter flavor completely. They were so delicious! And lower carb (sort of)! And gluten- and dairy-free (for those to whom that is important)! And so simple! I thought of future makings, perhaps leaving off the salt (to me, it really distracted a bit) or maybe adding chocolate chips or a chocolate drizzle on top. I would be making these again…oh, wait, I just did. And they were just as good the second time around. Ready to make a third batch…

For the recipe, go to

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