At least according to my husband. Of all the cookies, cupcakes, muffins, breads, truffles, cakes, snacks and candies I make, this is the only item my husband loves. Actually, he says it’s the only cookie that matters. Everything else absolutely pales in comparison. In order to make amazing peanut butter cookies, you must include super extra chunk peanut butter and actual peanuts in the recipe. Really there is no other way. Although I’m generally not a fan of peanut butter cookies (I need my peanut butter to have chocolate with it), I make these for my honey – and call them “Zacharies”. It’s the least I can do. He puts up with all my other baking like a trooper. And as much as I think I don’t like plain peanutty cookies – every time I make these, I manage to eat a couple.
“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.