peanut butter cookies

I inherited the book ‘The Joy of Cooking’ by Irma Rombauer from my mother who in turn had inherited it from her mother. The book was first published in the USA in 1931 and my copy is the 1952 edition.

my copy of the joy of cooking

I have never made anything from it, but have read bits and pieces and use it more as a reference book. I am however rather emotionaly attached to it. It makes me feel like I have a little piece of my mom on my bookshelf.

I stumbled across this recipe on Jun Belen’s fabulous blog and discovered its origin is off the ‘Joy kitchen blog’, which is the online home of the Joy of cooking.  I was immediately intrigued and thrilled to discover.

I have also fairly recently fallen in deep like with peanut butter and developed a really nice peanut butter shortbread recipe a while ago. Peanut butter and biscuits are a perfect marriage.

I looked the recipe up in my copy and found it had been ‘starred’ by my mom, which created added excitement.

I wrote the recipe down and left off the 1/2 a cup of brown sugar erroneously so mine were not too sweet, but they baked up perfectly though.

This is what you need to make:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (113g)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

how to make:

  • pre heat the oven to 180 C (375 F)
  • beat the butter and sugar together until creamy
  • add the egg and beat some more
  • add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat
  • sift the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the batter
  • mix briefly until the dough comes together
  • roll the dough into small balls about 1 inch (3 cm’s), place on a lined baking sheet and press down with a fork (in one direction as I did, or in two directions to get a criss cross effect)
  • bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until a light golden brown
  • remove and allow to cool on a cooling rack

Jun sandwiched his together with home made dulce deleche which would be totally awesome.  Have a look at his recipe here.

These really are just perfect peanut butter cookies and terribly easy to make.  Lori you will love! Next time I may add some extra chopped up roasted peanuts to give a bit more crunch.

Based on this success, I’m keen to check out and try out more recipes from ‘The Joy of Cooking’.

soft and crumbly
light and golden and rather delicious

*NB – read all the comments below before trying these out. There are people who have not had success with this recipe and others that absolutely love it. I do not know why. This is the recipe I took off the Joy of  Baking website at the time. This recipe has been removed from that site subsequently.

The recipe above is now the original recipe exactly from the book and I have re tested these based on this recipe. They came out really well.

110 Comments

  1. Samantha, this is gorgeous! I love the way you tied up the cookies together. It’s a lovely photo! And, wow! I’m so impressed with your copy of the Joy of Cooking. 🙂 That cookbook never fails me.
    Jun

  2. LOVE the pic with the ribbon – so sweet! You are very talented my friend!
    xxx

  3. I bet these cookies can kick start an addiction!! They look sooooo buttery!!

  4. drizzleanddip

    Thanks Jun 🙂 I struggle with light at my home, but as I evolve – Im hoping my photogrpahy will improve. I loved yours with dulce de leche (my absolute favourite). Sam

  5. Sam, all the signs were that you were meant to make these cookies. I love it when life just hands us must-do things like that. it’s like you channelled a bit of your mom through this.maybe a sign you are on the right path too? ps. the cookies look delicious and i agree, your pix are looking so great! xxx

  6. They taste even better when you add 1/2 a cup of mashed banana with some cinnamon or all spice.

  7. SO divine Sam 🙂 I am so glad that I finally made them. Soft and crumbly and the perfect combination between salty and sweet. (I used a 1/4 cup white and 1/2 cup brown sugar.) PERFECT!

  8. Aweosme Lori, glad you got your peanut butter fix. The copy of Joy of cooking I gave you is filled with some classic recipes. Well worth a look through. S xx

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  10. I am coming up with discrepancies regarding the amount of butter for this recipe. Some accounts of the Joy recipe have 1/3 cup and others have 1/2 cup. Did the recipe change over the years?

  11. Sam

    Hi Dwight, the original book has 1/2 cup of butter, but I used 1/3 as the source of my recipe was this:
    http://blog.junbelen.com/2010/06/14/how-to-make-dulce-de-leche-peanut-butter-cookie-sandwiches/
    I tried to locate the recipe on the Joy of Cooking website and couldn’t for some strange reason. I suspect the website uses 1/3. I think either will work fine.
    I cant remember as I write this a long time ago, but I suspect I found 1/3 cup.
    let me know what you discover.
    best
    Sam

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  15. I just made these cookies tonight with my mom! I was super excited about making them because my family LOVES peanut butter cookies however this is a terrible recipe! The cookies are very dry, it almost seems like the recipe is missing an ingredient!

  16. Sam

    Hi Bailey – Im really not sure what went wrong with your cookies becasue this is the Joy of Cooking recipe and its regarded as a classic. I have checked it and it is correct.

    Another refernce here:http://blog.junbelen.com/2010/06/14/how-to-make-dulce-de-leche-peanut-butter-cookie-sandwiches/

    The Joy website used 1/3 cup and the book uses 1/2 cup. This is a mere 35g difference. I used the 1/3 of a cup and they were perfect. I will retest as I have been meaning to make these again anyway. I will see if there are any issues.

    Thanks for your comment and Im sorry they didnt work out.
    best
    Sam

  17. Mine also turned out super dry and were not edible..:( I think there is an ingredient missing somewhere…

  18. Sam

    Hi Mindy, thanks for letting me know, I need to retest this recipe asap.

  19. Daniella

    I followed your recipe perfectly (until it was time to roll out the dough) and the final dough was very dry and crumbly (also not very sweet.) So I splashed some heavy cream in added a little more brown sugar and vanilla extract. The result was a much more traditional soft textured sweet cookie dough. I am glad to have found this recipe though we enjoyed the cookies very much. So thank you!

  20. Sam

    HI Daniella, It is so strange that this recipe is not working out. Im glad it did for you in the end.

    Thanks
    Sam

  21. I just made these. De.li.cious! I don’t know why some are complaining. It is now my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe.

    Thanx!!!

  22. Sam

    Thats great Kathy – they certainly were divine when I made them and come from one of the oldest classic American cookbooks. I will however remaike anyway, sa some people seem to have issues with the recipe :-/

  23. Margaret

    Be sure that you spoon the flour into the measure cup. Scooping the measure cup into the flour can add a extra amount of flour, making the batter to heavy.

  24. Hi, could you let me know, how many cookies you get at the recepie before???

    Thank you!

  25. Sam

    Hi Maria, it all depends on how big you make, but id say around 30 bigger ones or I just checked the Jun-blog – and he says: ‘sixty 1-1/2-inch cookie’

  26. My dough was also very crumbly :s they are in the oven as we speak. Hope they are good!

  27. These turned out so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  28. tina haaglund

    Perfect pnb cookies. Best we’ve ever had. Will be my only peanutbutter cookie recipe I use from now on.

  29. Sam

    Thanks Tina – Im glad you like. Some people have not found this.

  30. Made this recipe tonight…next time , though, will make double batch!!! Tried and true recipe from ancestors! One thing … when it says mix butter with sugar, might should say sugar(s)… GREAT RECIPE<3

  31. Sam

    Thanks S.A. will update my wording. Thanks for letting me know. S x

  32. I made these and i added Toll House Delight Fulls ( peanut butter filled chocolate chips), they are awesome. Thanks for posting:)

  33. Sam

    Hi Dan, Im so glad you enjoyed. The peanut butter filled choc chips sound delicious.

  34. Just made these cookies and sorry but they were the worst cookies I ever made. Threw half the dough out, didn’t even finish baking them.

  35. Sam

    Hi

    Oh dear Roby, this really is such a contraversial recipe. Some people seem to love it. The Joy of Baking is such a Classic American book.

  36. Worst cookies ever. Much too dry and crumbly. There’s got to be something missing from the recipe. Tossed into the trash.

  37. Sam

    HI Mick – If you read all the comments you will see half the people love and half don’t. Its the Joy of cooking recipe and its exactly as per the recipe I have triple checked.

  38. I am perplexed as well as to why you may have problems with this recipie. The dough was the perfect consistency for peanut butter cookies. If you never made them before then perhaps you don’t know that peanut butter cookie dough as a different texture then other cookies. I even used soy butter and coconut sugar in place of the refined sugars. And natural peanut butter. Still turned out great! Thanks for the recipie. I will be adding it to my collection and making them again. Happy Holidays!!

  39. Yes, mine were very dry also. We need to keep in mind that we probably ive in varying climates as well, which may affect how things bake. I am in CA, very dry. Thank you Daniella, I took your advice of adding heavy whipping cream, extra brown sugar and vanilla, plus added a bit of extra butter and they seem to be great! Sad for those who threw out their dough. They are delicious. Thanks for sharing SAM!

  40. I have been using the joy of cooking peanut butter cookie recipe for many many years.. Did you change it because this is the worst batch I have ever made. They were so dry that could not roll them into balls, They would just fall apart. and came out so different than what I am used to with this recipe.

  41. Sam

    Hi Sandra, no it is the exact recipe from the book. If you read my warning and all the comments you will see it’s quite controversial. Some people really loving it, and others experiencing difficulty.

  42. Sam

    Glad they worked for you Heidi, I’m going to retest these soon and adjust the recipe if needed. Have to say I loved them when I made them and they looked just like the picture (obviously).

  43. My copy of the Joy of Cooking says 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. You mentioned the 1/2 cup butter to 1/3 change you made, but you didn’t mention the change from 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to baking powder. I’m wondering if this is why so many people are having odd texture problems? Both my copy of the book and the source recipe you link to use baking soda instead of baking powder. Just thought I’d mention that.

  44. Sam

    Hi Rebecca – this tiny quantity will not have any effect on the texture of the biscuits. I have made it with both.

  45. I just made these cookies, exactly how the recipe above was given with no variations….I was very curious to see how mine came out, whether they would come out dry and crumbly or just how they were supposed to. And they came out just right! After thinking about this problem of them either being great or not great, the only thing I could come up with was what kind of measuring cup people were using for the peanut butter? I used a dry measuring cup as opposed to a liquid measuring cup, I wonder if this could be the difference between the “bad” cookies and the good ones?

  46. Sam

    HI Tina – thanks for letting me know and Im glad they came out well for you. What is a dry measuring cup? – I only know one type of measuring cup which holds liquid and dry ingredients. Im going to make these tomorrow again to retest.

  47. Hi Sam, Well obviously you know what the liquid one is, that is the one that’s made with all the lines of measurements on them, such as 1/4 c. 1/2 c. 1 c. etc. and it usually gives you how many ounces too, measuring cups for dry measurements are usually plastic or metal and don’t have any markings or lines on them, but it will be marked with what size cup it holds. Such as the biggest one will be the measurement of 1 cup, then there’s the 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup , each in descending size, they usually nestle or stack into each other. Persoanlly I never know if I am supposed to measure peanut butter in the dry cup or the liquid one, so I use the dry measuring cup, which I believe holds slightly more than the liquid measuring cup does. Haha…hope this didn’t confuse you, and you know what I am talking about! lol I also know you should ALWAYS measure flours and sugars in dry measuring cups or things may not turn out as you desire them to! Here’s a link to what dry measuring cups look like: http://www.organizeit.com/stainless-steel-measuring-cups.asp?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BingPLA

  48. Sam

    HI Tina – I use the stacked cups for both dry and wet (its the same measurement) – with dry its important to not press down and shake the container . Rather just fill and scrape to level out. Ultimately the best way to measure dry ingredients and the most accurate is to weigh it. Americans however prefer to use cups. I am thnking of converting this recipe to a weighed (accurate) measure too. So there will be bother options.

  49. Ok, well I have no idea why anyone had any problems with the dough, it came out perfect for me and they were delicious! And I have been baking for many years, cookies are my specialty, and I have never weighed my flour and I do spoon my flour into the cup and gently level it off and the recipe worked beautifully! 🙂 Thanks for sharing it! Hope you can figure out why people are having such a problem with it! Good luck!

  50. I made these cookies today to send in the mail to a college student. The peanut butter I used (Trader Joe crunchy) was very wet/liquid compared to other brands. This made the dough very moist and sticky so I couldn’t shape it very well. I put the dough in the refrigerator to chill for a little while and that helped. The cookies tasted very good and were sturdy enough for mailing. I plan to make this recipe again. One thing I was wondering about was that the ingredients call for baking soda but the instructions mentioned baking powder. (I used baking soda and it seemed to work)

  51. Sam

    HI Debbie – thanks for sharing. I made these again the other day using a fairly firm / dry crunchy peanut butter and they worked out well. Came out crunchy but definitely not too wet. I really do think it makes a difference what type of PB you use though. It should be baking soda.

  52. My kids and husband loved the peanut butter cookies. I have to do it again, since they are asking me all the time!
    Mine were perfect, had great tasty, were crunch and delicious.

  53. Sam

    Thats awesome Gaby, thanks for letting me know.

  54. Ashley J

    There were so many conflicting comments that I felt the need to throw in my opinion too 🙂 I have a couple of peanut butter cookie recipes. I’ve yet to find rhe PERFECT one. This one is pretty close to what I imagine is the best one. They’re soft and delicious! I followed the recipe with 1/2 cup of butter and with baking soda. I will be making these again, next time I think I’ll use crunchy peanut butter. Thanks for the recipe!

  55. Sam

    Thanks so much for your feedback Ashley, its much appreciated 🙂

  56. Great cookies. Made as the recipe requested and turned out perfectly. The batter wasn’t too dry at all.
    Thanks for sharing

  57. Sam

    Awesome Niki, thanks for letting me / us know 🙂

  58. Karen buchanon

    I am actually making these right now. Can’t wait to try them!!!

  59. These were so good i just had to comment! I tried these cookies today and i loved the outcome. I let them cook for 13 minutes just to get a slight crunch on the outside and keep that middle nice and soft. These cookies are the best combination of sweetness with that little something salty at the end. I really recommend people to try this recipe out.
    Thank you so much for sharing and happy baking!
    xoxo

  60. Mine came out delicious. I did the recipe exactly how it was written.

  61. Sam

    Im so glad they worked out for you Sandy, thanks for hte comment.
    Sam

  62. These cookies turned out perfect! I did use self rising flour, so I omitted the baking soda and salt. I also turned down the oven to 350* and baked the cookies for 12 mins. Taste just like the peanut butter cookies my grandmother used to make!

  63. you gotta make the criss crossy on top with the fork and put extra sugar on top

  64. These cookies came out great! I also cut out the brown sugar (because I didn’t have any). To those who are complaining about the recipe, perhaps you didn’t cream the butter and sugar well enough first? I actually thought the dough was on the softer side. Thanks for sharing! And by the way, how can you argue with The Joy of Cooking???

  65. I’ve been baking these cookies for 45 years and they are my favorite peanut butter cookie! Originally from my mother’s Joy of Cooking cook book (which sadly is now falling apart), then from mine, it’s a 1975 copy-wright. Your recipe is the same as mine, except for two things. Mine says either 1/2 cup butter or shortening. From my experience shortening make a cookie with more crumb. But both are good. It also says 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour. And to sift before measuring. Perhaps the problem people are having is due to their peanut butter and their flour. There is an instruction at the beginning of the recipe that reads; Use the greater amount of flour if your peanut butter is heavy in oil. For me 1 1/4 cups flour works best, I use Jiff peanut butter. I recommend to start adding your sifted flour 1/2 cup at a time and stop before you dough gets dry. Also these are not your typical peanut butter cookies, they are rich and crumbly (as the recipe description states). That’s what I like about them. But I know some people prefer a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe Sam. I hope this helps your readers to understand what this cookie is all about!. PS: you must USE this cookbook, it’s amazing! Try her apple pie.

  66. Kindra Lloyd

    I was curious to try these cookies due to the mixed reviews. I followed the recipe exactly (except I always let vanilla pour over the spoon a bit) and my dough was creamy and a great consistency. Not crumbly enough to throw away by any means!!! I feel ending up with such a dough is unlikely seeing as not much flour is used in the recipe. I suspect the butter was not softened enough or individuals didn’t beat the dough enough if they ended up with such results. My only tip would be to let the cookie dough sit in the fridge for just a bit. Not only did those cookies bake better in my oven, they also were nicer in appearance when forked and also through the baking process. I made these for a peanut butter fanatic, who I’m sure will be happy seeing as he just had surgery.

    Thanks for the recipe and great pictures!
    Rose

  67. Sam

    Hi Kindra, thanks for your detailed comments and Im so glad they worked out for you.

  68. We love this recipe! My hubby took them to work and even the pickiest guy raved about them. Thank you!

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  70. The 1964 J.O.C PB cookie recipe is only one I’ve ever used. I know that there are WAY better bakers than I out there, but I’ve never had any complaints from anyone about these cookies. Anyway, as someone else posted, to the uninitiated PB cookie dough IS weird! For folks that didn’t like the dough texture: Did you make sure ALL ingredients are at room temperature? Also, like another poster said, if it’s a little dry add cream. Point is, never give up, especially when you are half way done. 🙂

  71. Sam

    Reine, I agree the dough is very different to regular cookie dough. Im glad you lilke hte recipe too.

  72. So I love theses cookies but the measurements have to be exact and you have to follow the directions to a T or they will not turn out. I have made these and put a hershey kiss right in the middle of them and they were a huge hit!

  73. Lorrie Mc

    I add miniature chocolate chips to mine and roll in white sugar before pressing with fork.

  74. I had no problem making these but I used soft brown sugar only and added half the quantity as you did at first. As others had said the mixture was dry I thought sb sugar would be more moist. I also made sure to mix the almond butter up properly as it often separates from the oil which I didn’t think would help. Taste great too.

  75. Sam

    Hi Wendy your addition of almond butter sounds amazing – thanks fourth comment.

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  77. Mary von Alt

    Not sure if any other comment mentioned this, but the recipe specifically says that you should consider how oily your peanut butter is – start with one cup of flour, adding more as needed. I have made these many, many times without any problems – they are always a bit hit. Melt in your mouth cookies. We usually freeze any that are not eaten the first day, and then just raid the freezer for individual cookies, eaten right away, cold and all.

  78. Hi I have the joy of cooking from 55 years ago …..a wedding gift. I’ve made that recipe so many times I took the page out and laminated it…the best ever. I think folks are handling the dough too much…just mix and then roll into little balls, press with fork..watch your oven tho…some don’t need 15 minutes. Mine takes only 12.

  79. Possibly the problem with the peanut butter cookies is the peanut butter that you are using. I would think that since this is the joy of Cooking and a few years old that full fat good old peanut butter is used. Could also be that they are mixing the dough too long. Just a thought!

  80. My mom used this recipe. This is by far my favorite cookie. Think I over-mixed dough in KitchenAid mixer by not using dough hook after I beat the sugar and eggs together. Therefore they weren’t as crumbly as I remember them. They definitely taste better the next day. If you place them on a paper bag as soon as they come out of the oven, they become crispy on the bottom. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  81. Forgot to mention that I placed some raw balls of dough on a cookie sheet and placed it in freeze for an hour. I then placed the balls into a freezer bag. Defrost, press fork into ball and bake a few for fresh, warm cookies whenever a craving strikes. Place a note in or on bag to denote oven temp and cooking time.

  82. Try added milk chocolate chips to batter for a Reese’s like cookie. Fabulous!

  83. Hello, Sam. I just made this recipe and, although mine are edible, they are a bit on the dry side. I even miscalculated (hubby out of town, home with my 10 kids, and just started exercising=exhausted ) and added double the amount of butter. Every peanut butter cookie recipe I’ve ever made has had a bit of milk as well. I may try it again with the added milk.

  84. Sam

    Hi Erica, well apart form the butter, Im sure something else went wrong. All the comments are a reflection of how the cookies turned out for others. Im sorry they are not perfect. Best to find another recipe that you prefer rather than tweaking one that didn’t work out for you?

    best
    sam

  85. Constance

    I have been making these since I was a kid using my mother’s copy of Joy of Cooking. To me these are the essence of peanut butter cookies. We are wintering in Floida and my cook book is home in Michigan. Thank you for publishing this.

  86. So after reading all the comments I made these last night – followed your recipe exactly and but for the flour i weighed it instead – using 130 g per cup, hence I added 195 g of flour = perfect texture and perfect cookies! 🙂

  87. Sam

    Awesome – Im so glad you enjoyed the cookies and thanks for the comment

  88. Kathy Webb

    I believe the problem of dryness comes up if you use peanut butter with additives, like Jif. That is much drier than the natural kind with just ground peanuts, which has a layer of oil on top of the jar that you have to blend in. In my version of Joy of Cooking, she listed a range for flour of 1-1 1/2 cups, with the comment, “use the greater amount if your peanut butter is high in oil. I’ve used Laura Scudder Natural Crunchy with 1 1/2 cups flour; been making it for over 40 years with nothing but raves. If all I had to use was Jif, I’d use only 1 cup flour.

  89. Katrina

    I just made these today. They turned out perfectly. To the point I am going to make gifts out of them.
    I think the trouble many people are having is elevation. I have to change most recipes I make because I am in dry desert in 4,865? elevation. I followed the recipe as shown and they turned out perfectly.
    Church ladies aren’t even going to know what hit ’em with these. Thanks again!

  90. Sam

    HI Katrina – Im so glad they worked out for you

  91. Carol Slicher

    I just made a batch and these cookies were TERRIFIC! Crumbly, soft, chewy – what more could you ask for in a peanut butter cookie? Since I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I lightly rolled each dough ball in granulated sugar, before placing on the cookie sheet and pressing with a fork. They are delicious!

  92. Sam

    Thats so awesome Carol, Ive been dying to make another batch actually

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  94. Thanks, don’t have my copy of joy with me and wanted to make these to take home for Christmas. The date, fig or prune bars from Joy are amazing too – well the date version anyway.

  95. Sam

    Thanks Kate I will look those up – they sound divine

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  97. I press these with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, than swipe them with a fork in a traditional criss cross pattern. For me there is no other peanut cookie recipe!

  98. Sam

    Thanks for the great tip Jo, I imagine the sugar gives a nice crunchy topping too.

  99. Tried this recipe with great success!! Baking is a true science. If you don’t measure/weigh the ingredience properly this one will not bake properly. Too much flour frsults in a Dry Cookie. Peanut butter can vary based on brands (sugar/oil content). Starting with fresh Flour and Baking powder/soda is a must!

  100. Sam

    I’m so glad you liked the cookies.

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