Introduction: Peanut Butter Cookie Perfection

About: I'm a teacher and tutor of elementary school kids, but when I'm not out wrangling the kiddos I love to bake and cook in my kitchen. There's nothing greater than a recipe that goes well... and nothing funnier t…

I fully admit, I am a huge lover of peanut butter. I was (er, am) that kid who eats peanut butter straight off the spoon--don't worry, I don't double dip. Towers of Ritz crackers with the peanut butter smooshed between them, toast where the peanut butter starts to liquify a little bit from the heat and the texture mixing of the crisp and the gooey is just... mmm.

I'm sorry, where was I?

Oh right, peanut butter. WIth a few little tweaks, welcome to a recipe for peanut butter cookies that will take what is a pretty awesome cookie to OMG delicious.

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (plus an extra 1/4 cup) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Reese's Pieces (ie peanut butter candies the size of M&Ms. OMG GENIUS) or 1 1/2 cups Peanut Butter chips (equally genius)

The Hardware:

cookie sheets
cooling rack
measuring cups
plunger measuring cup for the peanut butter (best money you will ever spend)

Step 2: Prep Work

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Find all your ingredients (GOT YOUR MIS EN PLACE?).

Find your cookie sheets and parchment paper (or silicone baking mats, which I yearn for).

Heave the stand mixer off the fridge (sheesh, it's heavy).

Put on awesome apron because you know how you get when flour's involved.

If you're smart like I wasn't, pour that 1/4 of a cup of white sugar (fancy if you've got it, but any kind will work) into a small bowl for later.

Step 3: Mix It Up!

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.

Put butter in stand mixer and beat until creamy. Add peanut butter and mix until mostly combined. Add sugar, do same. Add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each egg until mixture is combined.

Slowly (with mixer still running) pour "flour mixture" into bowl. After combined, turn off mixer. Using a spatula or wide spoon, carefully stir in Reese's in smaller amounts, trying to get it evenly combined. You can fix this when forming the cookies if it becomes all lumped together, don't worry.

Step 4: Form the Cookies!

The dough is very sticky and wet, don't freak out.

Using either a leveled tablespoon or an eyeballed amount plucked from the bowl, roll the cookie into a ball. Remember that sugar in the small bowl? It's go time. Drop the pb cookie ball in the sugar and roll it around until it's covered (i.e. no longer sticky).

You can then put the cookies on the tray (with at least an inch of space between) and either make "classic" peanut butter cookies by flattening first one way then the other with a fork (to make those cutesy crosshatches that we all recall from our childhoods) or simply leave them there for a more rustic drop cookie effect. The choice is yours! (In my case, the choice was my sister's--apparently she is anti-crosshatching and so while I have about 10 cookies that have the hatches, the rest are nicely rounded and actually stay a little moister, so it's up to you.)

Step 5: Bake!

Bake on some greased/parchment paper covered/Silpat shod cookie sheets for 16 minutes* rotating trays (top to bottom, back to front halfway through), let "rest" on tray for 1 minute, then cool on rack.

The "1 minute rest" time is important, because the extra time on the hot pan helps the bottoms of the cookies get a little firmer.

Move to rack to cool. Plate, eat, enjoy!

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