Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 16, 2020


Your friend Jess, who excels at both cooking and baking, sweet and savory, taught you this recipe one time when you were both recovering from some influence or other. It’s very easy to remember, in part because it reminds you of that old Homestar Runner “property of ones” short. It goes something like: combine 1 egg, 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, and if you’re feeling really fancy, ½ tsp baking soda. Spoon cookies out onto a sheet of some sort and bake at 350 for I forget but probably 10 minutes. When Jess taught it to you she knew how long the baking time was. She said you can find it on Alton Brown’s website and countless other places, so if you’re looking for a single easy recipe that actually tells you what to do, I mean the internet’s a big place and you’ll find your princess in some other castle.

Jess emphasizes that for her recipe, you should really be using industrial strength cheap peanut butter, but for this recipe we’ll be using Trader Joe’s Creamy Peanut Butter. I don’t usually have much brand loyalty but here’s the thing: Trader Joe’s is the cheapest peanut butter I know of that only has peanuts in it. For emphasis: if you pay less for peanut butter, they’re adding something that’s even cheaper than peanuts. This is like how Arizona Iced Tea usually breaks the rule of costing less than the equivalent volume of cheap bottled water: If it’s still basically mostly water, what did they do to remove value? So also must you evaluate your peanut butter. Sure, stirring it when you first pop the seal is inconvenient, but after that you can either use it so quickly it doesn’t have time to separate again, or store in your fridge so it won’t separate. TJ’s PB also has the attributes of being surprisingly oily and very finely ground, perfect for baking.

To Make

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

So the first thing to do is to add some flour. Conceptually you’re starting with those proportions of “1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar” and you’re just going to … borrow some of those 1 cups and replace the volume with flour. No need for measuring cups. So maybe just imagine what two cups of something looks like in your mixing bowl, and aim for about ⅓ of that to be flour. You probably have some funky whole wheat flours from Bob’s Red Mill or something and those are great, or you can mix in some white flour, or use all white flour. It doesn’t matter at all.

Now add a volume of sugar roughly equal to the flour. You can use less sugar and they’ll be diet cookies, practically health food but still delicious cookies. Again, brown sugar, white sugar, an artisanal blend of the two, … whatever’s clever. Add a pinch of salt, a shake or three of baking soda, and mix those dry ingredients up.

Add an egg, a splash or more of vanilla extract (artificial is obviously fine), a splash of water, and somewhere in the ballpark of ⅓ - ½ the jar of peanut butter. Mix into a batter, adding more water or regretting how much water you added depending on whether your batter is too stiff or too liquidy. If you added way too much water you can add more flour and sugar.

Mix in half a bag of chocolate chips, semi-sweet or ‘dark’ works great, bitter is sometimes too bitter, but use whatever’s available due to your past purchasing and eating decisions.

Line a metal baking tray with parchment paper. You didn’t used to believe in parchment paper, partly because isn’t that what they wrote the constitution on and also isn’t it just wax paper? But at some point you learned that actually, no! Parchment paper for baking is neither of those things, and it’s literally fantastic for cookies. You won’t mind at all that your baking tray has those little rust spots, and you also won’t be making them any worse, or trying to scrape bits of cookie off the tray. You can also re-use parchment paper 2-4 times depending on how often you make cookies and whether the little grease spots that the cookies leave behind bum you out.

Use a spoon or two and maybe some fingers to plop the cookie dough onto the tray. This recipe usually makes 10-14 cookies and fills a single tray, but that depends in part on your ability to imagine two cups of volume and then divvy it out between flour, sugar, and peanut butter, so anyhow make the best of it and if you just make one giant cookie-bar that’s probably pretty boss.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the novelty extra-large sea salt that’s almost pyramidal, because 1% of all proceeds go to support the illuminati, just like all financial transactions.

Bake at 350 until majestic and slightly brown on the bottoms. 16 - 20 minutes. Note that the perceived majesty is largely due to the “Betty Crocker Effect” also known as the “Ikea Effect” in which your subconscious is pretty sure that anything you help to make must be good. Is this why people love their children? It doesn’t matter. Let the cookies mostly-cool before you eat them, but never eat your biological children. gross.


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Hi mom!