What are Peanut Butter Cookies?

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  • Written By: A. B. Kelsey
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 April 2020
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Peanut butter cookies are simply cookies that use peanut butter as one of the main ingredients. Peanut butter has been an American favorite ever since it was introduced to festival goers at the 1904 St. Louis World’s fair. First touted as a health food, recipes using peanut butter began appearing in various cookbooks by the early 1900s.

One of the earliest cookie recipes that listed peanuts as an ingredient was published by George Washington Carver, an African-American scientist, educator, botanist, and peanut advocate. His 1916 research bulletin, “How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing in for Human Consumption,” called for crushed peanuts instead of the nut butter, however. Actual peanut butter itself didn’t appear in a list of recipe ingredients until Ruth Wakefield, the brilliant inventor of chocolate chips, published her version of peanut butter cookies in the 1936 cookbook, Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes. It was around this time that the popularity of peanut butter cookies really took off.

The classic criss-cross pattern makes peanut butter cookies instantly recognizable. However, nobody is really sure how this tradition started. Early recipes called for the cookie dough to be rolled into a ball and then flattened with the tines of a fork before baking. There are those who believe that this practice started because flattening the cookies in the middle makes them crispy instead of soggy. Others feel that pressing the dollop of dough with the tines of the fork assures the dough flattens properly and, therefore, bakes more evenly. Whatever the reason, the sweet and salty flavor combination of peanut butter cookies makes them irresistible.

There is an ongoing friendly debate about whether smooth or crunchy peanut butter makes the best peanut butter cookies. Some food historians report that women and children prefer the smooth kind while the men go for the crunchy. Either way, peanut butter cookies are a popular dessert and after-school snack in homes across America.


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Post 1

Paula Deen developed a sugar-free peanut butter cookie recipe that is actually edible. You use natural peanut butter and Splenda. The cookies aren't exactly like those made with all the regular ingredients, but if you're on a sugar-restricted diet, they do help satisfy a craving without doing too much damage to your diet or your waistline. They are better when eaten the day they are made. Their downside is they don't keep well. And that may not be a bad thing if you don't want them hanging around the house. But that recipe is widely available online if you want to look for a decent, sugar-free peanut butter cookie recipe.

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