So, let me tell you a little bit about my favorite gal, Grace. I met her a few years ago through work, in which, on our very first night working together, I first experienced the magnanimity of her spirit. See, she ended up with a bloody nose, and witnessed, firsthand, the AWFUL inclination I have to chronically laugh when terrible things happen.
We cackled about that night a few weeks ago at my favorite coffee shop. And all because, back when things were REAL cold here, I texted her in the middle of a recipe brainstorm session to see if there was anything she was craving. I do this a lot for inspiration, so be forewarned if we ever become friends-or if I just think you have good taste-that I will most likely pester you in the name of new ideas. Grace’s response was something along the lines of, “Well, I’m in Minneapolis right now, and it’s really cold here, so…”
To which I replied, “NO, I’M IN MINNEAPOLIS RIGHT NOW.”
And, you know, I don’t really know what I would have done if she hadn’t been in my city. I really, really needed the kind of friend that she is in my life, right then. How lucky am I that the universe provided? I have spent a lot of my time since then in the presence of a beautiful, resilient, powerful human with an infectious laugh and an inspiring approach to people, kindness, strength, and compassion. And our mutual prioritization of ice cream and pastries doesn’t hurt.
So recently, I invited her over to bake what Bon Appetit has named its best recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. Here’s what sold me: they’re made with roasted, chopped peanuts, a WHOLE. JAR. of natural peanut butter, and a sprinkling of sea salt! After reading the list of ingredients, I just couldn’t fathom their low rating on the website; I read through the comments and Grace and I boasted to one another about how everybody else except us doesn’t follow recipes exactly, and how that’s usually the issue. We wore Ariel and Alice aprons, we drank iced tea, we taste tested the cookie dough for quality control (oh my gosh, is it amazing.), and we colored mandalas.
And then later, I made a couple batches of cookies with the dough we’d created (be forewarned: it is CRUCIAL that you let it sit at room temperature, and then chill), and I could. not. BELIEVE the amazingness that I had encountered. These cookies are legitimately so delicious, so peanutty, so perfectly tender and chewy and crunchy at once, that I simply could not wait to share them with you.
And in the process of writing out this recipe, I realized that I accidentally became one of the bakers that Grace and I discussed: we totally skipped a few steps. And honestly, with the way these turned out, I don’t care to try baking Peanut Butter Cookies any other way. So below is the way we made these, along with my mock apology to BA.
Dear Bon Appetit,
Sorry I screwed up your recipe and I lovedlovedloved the result.
Yours Truly, For Better, For Worse, In Peanut Butter, In Health, etc.
In other news, you’re welcome for the pictures of our feet.
The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes about 2 dozen
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 16-ounce jar all-natural creamy peanut butter (preferably Smucker’s)
Flaky sea salt (for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet until browned and fragrant, 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Meanwhile, cook butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling pan often, until butter foams, then browns, 4–6 minutes. Transfer brown butter with solids to a medium bowl; chill, stirring every 5 minutes, until cooled and beginning to solidify, about 15 minutes. Whisk flour, kosher salt, baking powder, and baking soda in another medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg, egg yolk, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and water in a large bowl until mixture is light and falls back on itself in a slowly dissolving ribbon, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients, then increase speed to high and beat 1 minute to develop gluten and hydrate flour. Add peanut butter, toasted peanuts, and brown butter and mix on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Let dough rest at room temperature until slightly firmed up, about 10 minutes. Portion dough into 20 balls (about 2 heaping Tbsp. each) and transfer to 2 parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Using a fork dipped in cold water, flatten cookies to ½” thick, making a crosshatch pattern on the top of each. Chill, covered, 1 hour. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt, then place baking sheet on middle rack in oven preheated to 350. Once cookies are in oven, increase heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake cookies until browned and edges are crisp, 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.