Sometimes the thing to do is just go with the gool ol’ classics. I needed/wanted to make some cookies for a couple people and went with the perfect Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies. I just finished making them (the recipe makes more than four dozen cookies) and I think I’ll make another batch because I know the boys will love having these on hand.
Cookie dough is almost always best after it has been chilled. Many have asked me through the years why their cookies spread so much and are flat and one of the number one reasons I tell them is because they didn’t chill the dough. When the butter is too soft and you use a cookie dough right after making it, it can make the cookies spread too much when they bake because all the ingredients are already warm. I made this dough yesterday and it just didn’t work out for me to get them baked until today. But the dough really only needs a couple hours in the refrigerator. I haven’t tried it with these, I’m going to—but my favorite thing to do is make cookie dough, form cookie dough balls and freeze them. I almost always have some kind of cookie dough to grab from the freezer and all I have to do is set them on a baking sheet, preheat the oven and bake them. When you bake them from frozen, you just add a couple minutes to the baking time.
This cookie dough is perfect after it has chilled for a couple hours to roll into balls. These cookies are then rolled in granulated sugar. Once you place them on a cookie sheet, you can press down on them with a fork in a criss cross pattern. Another thing I love about these cookies—they are all perfectly round.
Very similar recipes can be found all over the internet for these types of classic peanut butter cookies. I adapted a recipe I found at Sally's Baking Addiction.
Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use smooth, too)
3 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls)
In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugars. Scrapes the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl again. Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix on low just until combined. Scrape the dough into an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 hours (or longer, the dough is great stored in the refrigerator for a couple days).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (325 degrees F for convection oven-I love baking cookies in a convection oven with 3 baking sheets at a time.) Form walnut-sized balls of dough and roll them in the sugar. Place about an inch and a half apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheets for a couple minutes. Move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 54 cookies.
*If you make the cookie dough balls and freeze them, press them down with the criss cross pattern with a fork before freezing, (store in an airtight container or freezer bag) set them on the baking sheets while the oven is preheating and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time. Also note—I have since baked these fresh from making the dough (without chilling) and while the dough is soft and harder to form into balls, mine baked the same and look great. I have even tried forming the dough balls, criss crossing them, then freezing them for 15 minutes and they also baked great for 12 minutes.
Pile the cookies onto plates and give them away (okay, maybe have a few if you must). Wish I could! I already know peanut butter cookies are great and there is nothing better than the classics!