As you undoubtedly are aware, today is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. Throughout the years on this blog, I have posted many paeans to peanut butter, and have also told you how we are a divided household, with creamy for me and crunchy for Jim. And, just as Dave Barry said in his amusing book, How to Become a Successful Writer Without Really Trying:
“There is basically nothing in my kitchen that I have not, at one time or another . . . smeared peanut butter on. I include pot holders in that statement.”
The National Peanut Board says it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter, so yes, I kind of feel guilty for all the peanuts I personally decimate.
On my Pinterest Board for recipes, many of the recipes you will see include either chocolate, peanut butter, or both. (Viz: Peanut Butter Cup Overload Cake, Monkey Peanut Butter Bars, Crock Pot Peanut Butter Cup Cake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake, and so on.) (Just to fake people out, most of my other recipes involve quinoa.)
Grinding peanuts into a butter began as early as the late 1800’s. A website for New England recipes tells us:
In the 1890’s, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri, modified the common food grinder to make it into a peanut grinding machine that made peanut butter. It was patented in 1903. Dr. Ambrose also saw a commercial aspect in that he saw peanut butter as a food product for ‘providing toothless elderly with protein.’”
By 1902, recipes were being published for peanut butter cookies, presumably for people with teeth. The cookies got a boost when it turned out that Woodrow Wilson’s wife and daughter liked peanut butter cookies. Jessie Woodrow Wilson’s peanut butter cookie recipe was published in the November 15, 1913 issue of The Saskatoon Phoenix (Canada):
“Cream together one tablespoonful of shortening, three tablespoonfuls of peanut butter and one and a half cupfuls of sugar. Mix well with two unbeaten eggs and then add three tablespoons of sour milk and one teaspoonful of soda (dissolved). Beat in flour to make the dough just stiff enough to roll. Bake about twenty minutes in a hot oven.”
Seems kind of vague. But over time, the recipes got more sophisticated, and before long, the all-important fork marks were added.
As the New England Recipe website reports:
“The fork was originally used to flatten a cookie very thin in lieu of rolling the dough. In time, the fork’s purpose changed. Cookies were often served at ladies functions where presentation was as important as taste. The imprint that the fork left on the cookie made a desirable decorative pattern. Sometime in the 1930’s the criss-cross pattern became the hallmark of the Peanut Butter Cookie.”
What will I be making to celebrate this holiday? I’m thinking “Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies.” The recipe, from Back For Seconds Blog, is here:
• 3/4 cups unsalted butter (softened)
• 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cups brown sugar (packed)
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350
In a mixing bowl cream the butter, peanut butter, oil, and sugars.
Add egg and salt and mix again.
Add baking soda and flour gradually until incorporated. Do not over mix.
Stir in chips and toffee.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet 2″ apart.
Bake 6 minutes.
Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.