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A lot of peanut butter cookies are simply basic butter cookies with peanut butter mixed in. They're pretty darn good, but these are not those cookies. These take the extravagance of those basic peanut butter cookies—because mixing nutty, rich peanut butter into a buttery, sugary cookie is, by definition, an extravagance—and then ratchet it up a few levels.
The first key is using chunky peanut butter instead of creamy, guaranteeing tender little pops of peanut nubbins, or peanubbins as they're more commonly known, in every bite. Then you'll fold in whole roasted peanuts (we recommend using salted ones if you're not averse to a little extra salt in your sweets) to add a deeper nutty flavor and an even chunkier peanut bite. Together, these two elements add layers of texture and flavor for a more complex cookie experience.
Preparing these cookies is as easy as can be. You start by creaming the butter with both white and light brown sugars. White sugar aerates butter more effectively than brown sugar does, and since the two sugars are combined here, the blend produces a balanced result, making a cookie that's light and crisp, but not puffy.
Next, you beat in eggs and then add the dry ingredients and peanuts in stages, folding just enough to mix it all together thoroughly. It's important to keep the mixing to a bare minimum once the flour is added, since over-mixing will develop more gluten and toughen the cookies up. Stop as soon as the last traces of flour are folded in.
After that, you portion the dough into 1-ounce balls (that's equal to 2 tablespoons), roll them in granulated sugar to create an extra crisp and sweet exterior, and arrange them on parchment-lined baking sheets. If the dough is too soft to work with, stick it in the refrigerator for several minutes to help firm it slightly.
The last step is to press the cookies flat. We like to push down with a fork, rotating it ninety degrees to make a crosshatch pattern. Once they're baked, the cookies come out tender, crunchy, and packed with peanut-y flavor.
It's a small luxury, but a satisfying one.