Salted Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
To do these cookies justice, I feel like I need to cut straight to the chase and inform you that these peanut butter cookies are the very best of their kind that I have ever tried. They’re actually probably some of the best cookies I’ve ever tried in general, actually. My boyfriend agreed, saying (as he ate four of these giant cookies within one hour) that I could “open up a cookie shop and just sell these cookies.”
If you’re not exactly convinced because you don’t trust the authority of me or my boyfriend or the rest of my family on knowing what the best cookie is, you should know that Molly, who originally shared this recipe, asserts that these are some of the best cookies she’ll ever eat. And she is quite the authority on scouting out and judging good recipes, I think, and I’m guessing most of you think so too.
However, the beauty and quality of these cookies do come at a price. As my mom so lovingly complained, these are sort of “high maintenance cookies.” By this I mean that if you loosely follow the recipe and substitute ingredients or portions or wait times, they probably aren’t going to end up living up to that grandiose statement of praise I began this post with. So! Be precise and patient! It’s worth it.
I’ve made these cookies twice now (and yes there will be many more times to follow), so I can attest to the assertion that experimenting around with the recipe won’t produce the best results. Here are a few of the things that I think are the most important and fundamental to making the best version of these cookies:
1. Salt. Obviously, because “salted” is in the title of these cookies. There’s quite a bit of salt in these, and that’s not counting the salt in the mounds of natural salted peanut butter you’ll be using in this recipe (I used Adam’s by the way–don’t use a brand like Jiff). The saltiness is awesome though, and not too much. The sweet and creamy milk chocolate balances it all out too, so don’t worry. Also important to note when it comes to the salt is exactly how much you use. The recipe calls for 12 grams of salt, but the volume will vary depending on if you have table or sea salt or whatever it is. I highly recommend using scale, but I made the cookies just fine the first time around by using 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of kosher (flaked) salt.
2. Milk Chocolate. Think milk chocolate sounds a little weird in peanut butter cookies? Well, don’t think of substituting any other type of chocolate. (Really—I tried. It’s not as good.) The milk chocolate perfectly balances out the saltiness, almost to where you don’t even taste the milk chocolate pieces themselves and they all blend in to a sweet and salty mix of peanut butter-meets Reese’s cookie. Just go out and buy a nice bar of milk chocolate and chop it up into chunky little pieces.
3. Flour. The recipe calls for pastry flour, which is a high-starch, low-protein flour— a protein content that’s between that of cake flour and all-purpose flour. I haven’t found pastry flour, but I have made the cookies successfully using a combination of 1/3 part cake flour and 2/3 part all-purpose flour. This sounds fussy, but (I think) it’s this combination of flours that allow for these cookies to be huge but still retain the perfect soft-chewy texture throughout the whole cookie.
4. Patience and freeze time. This one might be the hardest to strictly follow, but freezing the cookie scoops before baking them and then (seriously) allowing these cookies to cool completely really does take these cookies from good to awesome-and-the-best. They have to be taken out of the oven while they’re still a little under-baked, which will prevent these cookies from being crispy. Once they’re fully cooled, they’ll get that soft-chewy thing I was talking about and they also just taste better.
5. Cookie size. Big is better here. Molly says she uses a ice cream scoop that measures about 1/4 cup to make her cookies, but I just used a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scooped it out and shaped it with a spoon. The dough is super soft, but I just placed the giant shaped cookies directly in the freezer on the cookie sheet I shaped them on.
So, I realize that is a lot of uncompromising demands. But next time you want a large peanut butter cookie that tastes more peanut butter-y with the amount of salt but that’s all balanced by the sweet milk chocolate, and that has the soft-chewy texture of those cookies in the bakeries that seem so impossible to attain at home… think about these cookies. And then make them, following all the nit-picky details. Then let me know if you loved them as much as I and my friends did.
You can find the recipe from Molly’s blog, here I followed the recipe exactly besides substituting the pastry flour for 2/3 cup cake flour and 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour for the 2 cups of pastry flour.
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