the butter lab's peanut peanut butter chip cookies
Until a few days ago, my favorite peanut butter cookies were the ones in my college dorm’s dining hall. They were miraculously soft, and chewy, and full of artificial junk. But I loved them anyway.
Over the years, I’ve tried a slew of peanut butter cookie recipes—cookies criss-crossed with the back of a fork, piled high in an ice-cream scoop, filled with peanut butter buttercream, made from ground nuts or brittle or caramel. (Including but not limited to: Thomas Keller’s Nutter Butters, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar version, the crazed gluten-free variety from the Ovenly cookbook, the Peanut Butter Sandies from City Bakery, many of the Dorie Greenspan kinds, Mindy Segal’s Peanut Butter Peanut Brittles, and the Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies from the recent The Fearless Baker cookbook.)
It’s not that those weren’t good. But eventually I decided that either I didn’t love non-college-dorm peanut butter cookies, or they were just too difficult to make the honest way without ending up with something too dry, or too cakey, or too sweet.
Then this year I tried something different. I was intrigued by Maida Heatter’s Skinny Peanut Wafers, which are actually not peanut butter cookies at all, but instead peanut cookies baked wafer-thin. In theory, crispy wafer-ness appealed to me as a way to fend off a dry or cakey texture. But Maida’s cookies weren’t skinny enough for me; they still baked up rather conventionally.
That’s when I thought to adapt my favorite recipe for crispy thin cookies: Mindy Segal’s genius Oatmeal Scotchies, made from rolled oats and butterscotch chips. With the help of brown sugar, lots of butter, and a touch of ground toasted oats, they bake up dark and lacy and caramel-y. Riffing on that, I substituted salted roasted peanuts for the oats and peanut butter chips for the butterscotch. The result was sublime: a salty peanut flavor bomb with little melty pools of Reese’s-esque bliss.
These cookies are nothing like the cookies I ate in college. But that’s a good thing. We’re not in college anymore.
The butter lab’s Peanut peanut butter chip cookies
Makes approximately 40 cookies.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup cane sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup cake flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 cup peanut butter chips
Heat the oven to 350° F.
Using a spice grinder or food processor, grind 2 tablespoons of the peanuts into a fine powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat the butter very briefly, 5 to 10 seconds, on medium speed. Add the sugars and beat until the butter mixture is pale in color, about 4 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat on medium speed very briefly, about 5 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again on medium speed for another 20 seconds, until well-combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the powdered and whole peanuts, flours, baking soda, and salts. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low for approximately 30 seconds; the batter will come together in a shaggy sort of way. Do not over-mix. Add the peanut butter chips. Finish mixing everything together with a wooden spoon or baking spatula until it just comes together.
By hand or with an ice cream scoop, form dough into 1-ounce (about 1½ tablespoon) balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving ample space between each cookie (they’ll spread). Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the pan, and in the process, tap it against the counter or the oven to deflate the cookies. Bake for another 4 to 6 minutes, or until the edges are a deep golden color and the cookies are beginning to crisp and brown. Let the cookies cool on the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.