I am back blogging, at least for a bit! As many of you may know, I recently finished up my fall semester of graduate school through Iowa State University. Between my coursework, working full-time, commuting about 2 hours total each day, and training for half marathons, something had to be put on hold. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up with blogging in the mix. Once classes start back up in January, my free time will once again be limited. However, I will try to make time for occasional blogging. I’ve been writing so many research papers, so it feels nice to take a break and write for pure enjoyment. I hope everyone is doing well and has a wonderful holiday season! I am truly looking forward to a nice break and spending quality time with family.
We were having a conversation at work the other day about natural peanut butter (ie those with just peanuts and sometimes salt) versus conventional stabilized peanut butter (ie Skippy or JIF). Personally, I tend to favor stabilized peanut butter, especially Skippy. I love the smooth texture, easy spreadability, and slightly sweet taste. However, I will gladly eat either!
The conversation shifted from taste, texture, convenience, cost, etc, to baking. I was advised that if you want a superior peanut butter cookie, you must use natural peanut butter. I personally have never used natural peanut in my baking, but this piqued my interest. I am always up for trying something new, so did some online investigating for various recipes. The recipe I chose to work with is from the National Peanut Board. I figured they are experts about peanuts, so they must have great peanut butter cookie recipes too!
When it comes to natural peanut butter, be prepared to stir it to reincorporate the oil that has separated. It can get messy, especially if it is a new jar. I really don’t have any tricks other than to take your time stirring gradually.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Recommend lining cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla, and mix until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture, and mix just until combined.
Scoop dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Coat each ball in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Using a fork, gently press a criss-cross pattern into the cookies. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Do not overbake. Carefully transfer baked cookies, and let cool on a cooling rack.