I love peanut butter. I love it in all its iterations, I think - peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter on toast with honey, peanut butter on a banana or apple, peanut butter straight off the spoon... peanut butter cookies are no exception. And yet, somehow, I've never made them before.
Normally when I get an idea I look around at dozens of different recipes, until I feel like I understand the basics, then I take the things I like from different ones and put them together. Sometimes, especially if it's particularly detailed or complicated, I'll follow a recipe exactly the first time or two and then make adjustments as I feel necessary. Here, however, I did no looking around. I found the recipe from Joy the Baker (though it's originally from The Gourmet Cookbook), and knew this was the one I had to try.
Unlike virtually every other cookie or cookie-like recipe out there, these are made completely without flour or butter. It's just 4 ingredients (5, if you add chocolate on top, or a dollop of jam) and super-simple to make. This fit the bill not only for my level of competence, but also for my intended use of the cookies: to share with a room full of hungry board-gamers. All the ingredients worked out to be about twenty five cents a cookie. If you walk up to someone and hand them a quarter there isn't much they can do with it - twenty-five cents doesn't even buy a newspaper anymore. But hand them a cookie, and their whole day just got a little brighter. That's a well spent quarter, if you ask me.
(from The Gourmet Cookbook)
1 cup all-natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky (the natural stuff will hold together better - I also wonder if the recipe wouldn't work with almond or other nut-butters)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I recommend dark brown, if you have it)
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350f. and grease up a baking sheet (or two - it says the recipe makes ~24 cookies, but they're pretty small. My batch only made 20, so your mileage may vary).
In a stand mixer, or with a handheld, blend the peanut butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.
Add the egg and baking soda and mix again for another couple minutes.
At this point my 'dough' looked very crumbly:
And I couldn't help but think: peanut butter crumb topping? What about *gasp*... PB&Fruit crumble!? Stay tuned, people, stay tuned.
Right, back to the cookies. Squeeze small fistfuls of the dough in your hand, rolling into small balls. Again, the recipe says it should make two dozen, so about the size of a cotton ball each.
Space them out on a cookie sheet with at least a half inch between them, and then go around and press a criss-cross pattern onto the tops with the back of a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to darken only slightly. Let them cool (they're pretty mushy while they're hot) for a few minutes before diving in.
These cookies are surprisingly good for a four ingredient fix - they're firm on the outside, soft in the middle, and taste like sweet peanut buttery goodness. They're a little delicate and dry, but depending on your preference that may not matter. Maybe not the world's best PB Cookies out there, but they're tender, and tasty, and it was a force of will not to eat them all before taking them to the hungry hoard of gamers. Oh, peanut butter, what wonders you possess.