When I think of classic cookie recipes, peanut butter cookies are one of the first to come to mind. That classic sugar-coated crust and unmistakably old-fashioned crosshatch pattern make them utterly irresistible. No fancy ingredients are needed to make or decorate these cookies. The secret ingredient really is love. I hold these cookies to a pretty high standard. Like a lot of folks, my grandma used to bake these regularly for me and my brother when we were kids. I have fond memories of sneaking away cookies while they were still warm and biting into soft, chewy perfection. While you don’t always see this in every recipe, we would roll out balls of cookie dough in more granulated sugar before baking to create a crackly crust and some extra sparkle.
The dough itself is pretty standard – start by creaming together butter, peanut butter and two kinds of sugar (a combination of granulated and brown sugars creates a perfectly chewy consistency) until light and fluffy. Finish by mixing in an egg, a splash of milk and a handful of basic dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. If you are a fan of crunchy peanut butter, feel free to use that instead of the creamy variety (or add a handful of chopped peanuts to the dough). To make the cookies instantly recognizable, press a crosshatch pattern into the tops using the tines of a fork.
The recipe for this dough is pretty similar to another classic – peanut butter blossom cookies. If you find yourself craving some chocolate, you can use this dough . Bake the cookies according to the directions below, then let them cool for a minute or two before pressing a chocolate kiss candy into the center of each.
Technique Tip: Use a light touch when pressing the crosshatch pattern into the cookies, as you don’t want to press the cookies too flat.
Swap Option: If you don’t have milk in your refrigerator, heavy cream, sour cream or dairy-free plant milks are good substitutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and milk and beat until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until combined. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough into balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.2.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll dough balls in more granulated sugar to coat; return to baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, gently press down on the surfaces of the cookies to create a crosshatch pattern. Bake, rotating pans halfway, until cookies are puffed, lightly browned and set around the edges, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.