Peanut butter (or peanut paste as it is known here) is one of those things that I sometimes crave, and other times am weirdly repulsed by. Its smell is always heavenly, but sometimes, its heaviness gets the better of me and I just don't want it.
My favourite type of peanut butter is the crunchy variety, but I recently bought a large jar of the smooth variety, using the logic that it contains slightly less fat. Who am I kidding? You don't eat great quantities of peanut butter at once, so the difference is negligible.
Recently, I bought The Greyston Bakery Cookbook (by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan), which I learned about on Baking Bites and have had on my Amazon wishlist forever. It was a terrific purchase - it is not big on pictures, but the recipes sound delicious and easy enough to make, and use sensible quantities of ingredients that you are (for the most part) likely to have in the pantry.
Drawing my two threads together, I had one large jar of peanut butter that needed using, and The Greyston Bakery Cookbook just happens to have a recipe for peanut butter cookies on page 160. Brilliant!! A plan was born.
As stated by the authors, these cookies "are shockingly simple to make". Much of the butter normally used to make cookies is replaced by peanut butter. The resulting cookies are neither very crunchy nor very soft - they are somewhere in between - and taste delicious. The peanut butter does not overwhelm the taste of the cookie, and I personally prefer these cookies to peanut butter itself. They are also rather cute with their fork-mark design.
To make these cookies, you will need:
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (~60g) softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper or silicone mats.
Whisk together the sifted flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, and set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat the sugar, peanut butter and butter together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla to the mixture and continue to beat it until just blended. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture, and beat until just combined.
Roll teaspoonsful of the mixture into balls, place on the cookie sheets leaving room to spread a little, then make a criss-cross pattern in the dough balls by flattening them slightly in both directions with a fork.
Place the cookies in the oven to bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before tranferring to wire racks to cool.
The recipe makes around 36 small cookies (I got 35).