It is a well documented fact that my husband (Zachary) is not a fan of sweet things. Cookies, cakes, fudge, candy – none of it tempts him. It drives me crazy. However, even his lack of a sweet tooth cannot resist my peanut butter cookies. Probably because they are so nutty and awesome, rather than being just something sweet. There are a couple keys to a great peanut butter cookie. First of all, extra super chunk peanut butter is a must. Mine also have a full cup of chopped peanuts – imagine that, actual peanuts in a peanutty cookie. Secondly, make sure you take these cookies out when the edges are just starting to golden. They won’t look done, but trust me, if you want a soft cookie – take them out of the oven.
I’ve decided my peanut butter cookies have a new name “Zacharies”. I’m absolutely nuts about him – even after almost 10 years of marriage. He is everything a peanut butter cookie should be. Warm, soft and completely nostalgic. He is home to me – just like the smell of peanut butter cookies takes me right back to childhood, home and my mother’s kitchen. And, let’s be honest, this is the only cookie I can possibly name after him – since what he’ll eat of any of my other stuff is not even enough to satisfy a mouse.
“Zacharies” - Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), unsalted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter – do not use generic peanut butter, organic, oil free, light etc.
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup roasted salted peanuts , ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs, about 14 pulses (about 1 cup, packed)
1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
3. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.
4. Working with 3 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. I generally only do 6 cookies per sheet. Press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in sugar to make crisscross design.
5. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.