The peanut butter cookie is the essence of home. When a cookie contains so much love, sweetness, and affection, how can you not wind up with a million recipes for it? So I was browsing through my own archives, looking for cookies to make over the weekend, and I saw that pretty much everything I made contained peanut butter. This is a slightly mysterious state of affairs, because I’ve been known to swear I don’t even like peanut butter cookies. (Peanut butter toast is a different story.) I’ve often felt like an alien for confessing that I find all ice cream without peanut butter better than any ice cream with peanut butter.
Anyway, the proliferation may have something to do with being married to a guy with a jar-a-week peanut butter habit. We always have crunchy in the fridge, and that means I can always make cookies. And now, with four equally awesome but very different recipes for peanut butter cookies, you can always make them too.
Which do you like best?
**Peanut Butter Cookies, Four Ways**
1. The Classic: Peanut Butter Cookies. These are the hearth-warming cookies you may have dreamed about, crumbly and rich and fragrant. At the same time, they have a denseness that makes me think of the inside of a truffle, or, more apt, a peanut butter cup. Definitely start here if you’re a classic type. Also, please eat some of the dough.
2. The New Age: Flourless Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies. The minimalist ingredient list for these magic cookies contains neither flour nor leavening. Peanut butter, egg, and sugar are the base of these candy-like sweets. You’ve got a lot of freedom with what you mix in. I count chocolate chips and toasted almonds among my favorites. Make them again and again to find out what add-ins you like best!
3. The Retro: Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprints. Because the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a classic, there had to be a corresponding cookie. I’ve always loved the process of making thumbprints, and I think it’s all much more exciting when there’s loads of peanut butter to go with the jelly.
4. The Light: Peanut Butter Meringues. Light as a cloud–not something that happens all that much when peanut butter is involved–these meringues are naturally gluten-free and low-fat. As such, there’s something really surprising about biting into one. Like the Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies, these contain almost no ingredients, all of which you hopefully have on hand.
Bonus! These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Breakfast Bars contain a beautiful hint of peanut butter!