Today is National Cookie Day, and I don’t think I’ve been faced with such a difficult decision in a long time. What cookie do you make to represent all that is good and wonderful about cookies? They are, in my opinion, the perfect dessert. Portable and hand-held, they’ve got the whole convenience thing going for them, plus they keep for longer than a lot of desserts. There’s a reason there’s no such thing as a Cupcake Jar. It just doesn’t work. They have an adorable name (what other food is named after the process of making it? Do we call muffins Bakies? Although come to think of it, muffin is a pretty weird word too…). Cookies are sweet, you can eat as many or as few as you would like, and does any other food exist in so many variations? Probably, but that’s besides the point!
I love cookies dearly, and this is thanks to many wonderful childhood memories of standing on step stools in kitchens, helping the women in my family make these treats. I would lick the beaters off the electric mixer, crack eggs, strain my tiny muscles to stir the thick dough with the big wooden spoon and sneak chocolate chips when I thought no one was looking (someone was always looking). Making cookies has always been one of the most comforting things for me, and has never failed to put me in a good mood or help me destress. Maybe it’s because of the nostalgia conjured up every time I start the familiar steps of creaming together butter and sugar or sifting flour and baking powder, or maybe it’s just the promise of dessert in 15 minutes or less (did I mention I love how quickly cookies bake? Like come on, a cake cannot provide that kind of speedy delivery, no matter how delicious it is).
So, when I decided I needed to post a cookie recipe in honour of National Cookie Day, I was stumped. But not for long. It was a difficult decision, and classic Chocolate Chip almost won, but I realized that at the end of the day, cookies embody the whole Roasty Melty idea. They warm you up, right to your very soul, tuck your tastebuds in under a soothing blanket of sugar and butter, and make your brain go all fuzzy and cozy. For me, I can’t help but think of peanut butter cookies. Peanut butter on its own is enough to make me feel five years old again, sticking and unsticking my tongue from the roof of my mouth, as I relish in its salty sweetness. The cookies themselves make me think of my grandma. I could never understand why it was so crucial that they all get a criss-cross pattern with a fork right before going into the oven. Why not just smush them down with your fingers like other cookies? She used to laugh when I would ask her, and explain that that’s just how you make peanut butter cookies, the same way Chocolate Chip cookies wouldn’t be the same without chocolate chips. This still didn’t really make sense to me, but as I grew older, and as I made batches of peanut butter cookies of my own, I dutifully pressed a fork into each cookie. She made it look easy, and I still have yet to master the art of the perfectly even criss-cross, but I plan to keep trying.
Makes: Anywhere between 2-4 dozen depending on how big you make them
- 2 and a half cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened!!! But not too much, definitely not melted)
- 1 cup peanut butter (I really like using chunky peanut butter for this, as I like the little peanut bits, but creamy will work fine if that’s not your thing)
- 1 cup white sugar (or a smidge less… don’t quite fill it up full… maybe do closer to 3/4 of a cup instead)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (same as the white sugar…don’t pack it too tight, that’s just what my original recipe always said)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cream the butter, peanut butter, and white and brown sugar with an electric mixer. You’ll know it’s ready when it gets light in colour and fluffy. It should almost feel whipped when you stick a finger in.
- Add to the butter mixture the eggs and vanilla, blend well.
- Gradually add the flour mixture. Make sure that each time you add more, you mix it in completely before you add more again.
- Drop generous tablespoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (if you don’t have a Silpat…Christmas is coming. Just saying.)
- Press a criss-cross design with a fork into each ball of dough to flatten it a bit. Sometimes it might stick, sometimes it might not. I don’t know why, I’m the wrong person to ask.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until you see a light brown colour on the bottom edge of the cookies. They will be very soft and in no way feel as though they are done, but they are.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, until they don’t feel so floppy. Then transfer onto wire racks to finish cooling (if you can wait that long. I’ve usually eaten at least two by this point. Okay three. Okay you know what, we’re not going to play the judging game.)
- Eat with a cold glass of milk. Just do it.