Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

It was a very busy morning for us in IPC kitchen. We had to prepare our regular Wednesday Noon Service lunch, and for a special youth event: Senior Roast, dinner honoring five graduating high school seniors. So we kept our dessert simple but good. Good ol' Peanut Butter Cookies drizzled with melted chocolate.

We agree with Cook's Illustrated taste test on peanut butter, Jif outshines other brands on clean, peanutty flavor.

Dip your fork in granulated sugar first when making criss-cross design, it keeps the fork from sticking to the dough.

After cookies are cooled, melt white or dark chocolate in a double boiler with one teaspoon of vegetable shortening. Put melted chocolate in ziplock baggies and snip the corner of the bag and gently drizzle on cookie tops.

Hannah could not resist a taste test.

Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks), salted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter or creamy is OK, too, preferably Jif
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup ground,packed, roasted salted peanuts (ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs, about 14 pulses

Optional: White or dark chocolate for melting

1. Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

2. In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.

3. Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in granulated sugar to make crisscross design. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Optional: Drizzle melted chocolate on cookie tops. Cool completely before serving.

Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.

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