Soft and Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

Cookies with that signature soft, chewy texture, plus crunch from whole roasted nuts.

Overhead close-up of peanut butter cookies, sprinkled with sugar.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Chunky peanut butter gives great peanut flavor and lots of tiny crunches of peanut, while whole roasted peanuts add a deeper layer of peanut flavor and larger chunks.
  • Light brown sugar adds a hint of butterscotch.

Alot 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 one-ounce balls (that's equal to two 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 90 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.

March 2011

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Recipe Facts

4.8

(4)

Active: 25 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 36 servings

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Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (13 1/3 ounces; 385g)

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) kosher salt

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks; 225g), at room temperature

  • 1 cup (240mlcrunchy peanut butter

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 1/2 ounces; 215g)

  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces; 150g) granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces; 100g) for rolling

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups whole roasted peanuts (5 ounces; 140g)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add light brown sugar and 3/4 cup granulated sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Lower mixer speed to low and add flour in 2 parts, scraping down the bottom and side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add peanuts and mix just until evenly distributed.

  3. Pour remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl. Scoop the dough with a 1-ounce (2-tablespoon) ice cream scoop and roll each scoop into a smooth ball. (If the dough is too soft to handle, refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.) Roll each ball in sugar to coat lightly. Place sugared balls on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. You will have dough left over after filling up the 2 baking sheets; keep it refrigerated.

    Author rolling a ball of raw cookie dough in a shallow bowl of white sugar.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  4. Press down on each ball twice with the tines of a fork, making a crisscross pattern.

    Author pressing crisscross pattern into balls of raw cookie dough arranged on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

  5. Bake cookies until golden brown and starting to crisp at the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheets to cooling racks and let cookies cool on sheets for 3 minutes, then, transfer cookies directly to cooling racks. Cool completely. When baking sheets have cooled completely, repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 with remaining cookie dough. Store cookies in an airtight container or zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.

    The finished peanut butter cookies, cooling on the baking sheet.

    Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Special Equipment

Stand mixer, rimmed baking sheets, wire racks

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
203 Calories
11g Fat
23g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 203
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 106mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 103mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)