Here at the casa, there are five different versions of “nut” butter currently in use. We have the school peanut butter, which is actually sunflower seed, two mixed nut/seed combinations that were so fetching in the store but have yet to find love at home, and of course your smooth and chunky versions of regular old PB. As with the unexplainable number of different condiment bottles crowding my fridge, I am not 100% sure how they all got here. National Peanut Butter Cookie Day is today though, and the number of jars over here is down by one.
I love peanut butter cookies, but folks, there are rules that must be observed:
There MUST be salt. I don’t mean the sparest pinch added to the dough, either. I mean enough that you will actually identify that salt is one of the flavor component.
It is chunky, or nothing.
And, super-soft, frisbee-sized cookies that don’t hold together when you pick them up will not do.
This is my absolute favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. The cookies have lots of texture, are crispy AND chewy, and pack a whole lot of flavor into a wee little package! The added step of making brown butter makes all the difference.
Chunky Salty Peanut Butter Cookies
yields about 5 dozen cookies
2# (8 sticks) butter
3 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 c. peanut butter
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp kosher salt
3 c. roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
To make brown butter:
Place the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Allow the butter to melt then come up to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and let the butter bubble gently. It will create a foam as it first begins to boil. Adjust the heat to a lower temperature as the foam begins to rise. Do not allow the butter to boil out of the pot.
As the foam begins to subside, gently stir the melted butter to check for doneness. The brown butter is finished once the milk solids at the bottom of the pot have turned a light to medium brown and the butter takes on a hazelnut-like scent.
Carefully remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour the butter through a fine strainer and store in a heat-resistant container until ready to use.
For the cookies:
Place the brown butter and both sugars in a mixing bowl. Cream the mixture on medium speed until light in color (five minutes or so). Add the peanut butter and continue on speed two. Add the eggs one at a time (still on speed two), then scrape the down with a rubber spatula.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and stir in on low speed. Once the mixture is almost combined, add the chopped nuts. Continue to mix on low speed just until the dough is completely combined.
Chill the dough for at least one hour before scooping and baking.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop the dough into walnut-sized balls. Dip the top of each ball in granulated sugar and place on a paper-lined sheetpan. Sprinkle a small pinch of kosher salt over the sheetpan. Bake until the cookies become light golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center.