Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 2 1/2 dozen
Use processed peanut butter for the softest, chewiest texture. The dough is quite soft, so keep it chilled until you are ready to form and bake the cookies.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter (see note)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts , chopped fine
# Switching from shortening to butter made the task of creating a chewy cookie more difficult, but the superior flavor was worth the complication.
# Thanks to hydrogenated oils used in manufacturing, processed peanut butter produced a chewier cookie than natural peanut butter.
# The chewiest recipes we encountered were sweetened with honey, but we found the flavor overbearing. To retain the moisture of the honey without sacrificing flavor, we used light corn syrup instead.
# We cut back on the egg white in our recipe and added more peanut butter to make up for the loss of moisture.
# Chopped peanuts on top of the cookies added even more peanut flavor.
# Baking soda reacted quickly with the acidic ingredients in the dough to create bubbles that expanded in the heat of the oven. This caused the cookies to puff up and deflate before their structure had time to set, leaving the centers soft and chewy.
# We used melted butter instead of creamed butter to ensure that the cookies werenâ€™t too cakey
1. MAKE DOUGH Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, granulated sugar, egg, yolk, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2. SHAPE cookies Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll 2 tablespoons chilled dough into 1½-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using greased measuring cup, gently press each ball to ¾-inch thickness and top with chopped peanuts, pressing lightly to adhere.
3. BAKE AND COOL Bake cookies until puffed and edges are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve. (Cookies can be stored in airtight container for 3 days.)