the moveable feasts

Salted Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

with 24 comments

best 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.

big soft and chewy salty peanut butter cookies

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.

a LOT of peanut butter

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.

add the chocolate

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.

flour mixture to the wet

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.

big scoops

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.

soft and chewy salty peanut butter cookies

Written by Amy

May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

24 Responses

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  1. These cookies look absolutely delicious. I love anything salty sweet and I know that a recipe from Orangette is going to be incredible – definitely one to try very soon!


    June 1, 2012 at 11:09 pm

  2. Oh goodness, these sound absolutely amazing!


    June 2, 2012 at 1:30 am

  3. Amy, thanks for reminding me about these cookies! I remember reading the Orangette post when it first came out, but I’d long forgotten about it. I’m always sceptical about chocolate in cookies (yeah, I almost always dislike chocolate chip cookies), but if the chocolate in these just sort of melds in with the rest of the cookie, I’m sure I could live with that. I love peanut butter cookies, and these look great.


    June 2, 2012 at 5:53 am

    • Yeah, definitely try them out! It’s funny, I don’t really ever like chocolate chip cookies either. Too much chocolate, too melty, oftentimes too crispy. In these I didn’t even notice there was chocolate in them when I was eating them!


      June 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

  4. You (and these photos) have convinced me. I’m trying these cookies as soon as a restock my PB supply. They look FABULOUS.


    June 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

  5. The best cookies you’ve ever eaten? Okay wow, I trust you and Molly (and your boyfriend) so I think I’m definitely going to have to make these. Unfortunately peanut butter isn’t popular in Switzerland (or Europe in general) so we don’t have any options when it comes to what brand to buy, and none of the brands are natural. BUT that said, I’m going home next week and I’ll be there for two weeks so I’m definitely going to make these, perhaps for a bachelorette party that I’m going to. My girlfriends will definitely want to pass judgement on the “best cookie”. I’ll be sure to let you know what they think. For the last bachelorette I made the whole wheat cookies that have been floating around the blog world – the ones by Kim Boyce (they are on my blog and also Mollys and SweetAmandine and a gazillion others). They are delish. Anyway…as you can see we aren’t the type of group that calls in the stripper…we call in the cookies and sit around chatting and drinking wine.

    Great post!….looking forward to all your upcoming posts on cherries that you’ve picked straight from your tree (so super jealous)


    June 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

    • Well we have to wait for the cherries to show up here first! Sometimes we have bad years and miss out on cherries all together–HOPING that’s not this year! Hahah and I think I fall in the same category as you and your girlfriends. The idea of bachelorette parties kinda give me the heebie-jeebies, but one where cookies and treats are called in sounds like my kind of thing! And I have seen those cookies on your blog (and everyone elses), and a blog I follow just recently posted on them, too. I need to make them and have the recipe bookmarked!


      June 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

  6. Mmmm, salted peanut butter cookies sound so good! I’m extremely fond of a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I found on Smitten Kitchen, they turn out so soft and chewy (if you under cook them just right) with none of that dry crumbly mouth smacking sensation that peanut butter cookies can so often come with. These do look a bit fussy, but I’ll have to give them a try and see how they compare to my favourite PB cookie! Thanks for the recipe.


    June 4, 2012 at 12:12 am

    • Those were my favorite peanut butter cookies up until this point! I still do love those, but after having these I almost think they’re a little too sweet from the chocolate chips and rolled sugar. I’ll probably still make those when I’m in the mood for quick-fix peanut butter cookies. I hope you try these though!


      June 4, 2012 at 8:11 am

      • Okay, then! If you know of the cookies to which I am referring and you’re *still* saying these are better, then I really should give them a try! I do love dark chocolate with peanut butter, like 70% at least, but you think milk chocolate would be better?


        June 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  7. These look amazing and I need a good peanut butter cookie recipe. I tried David L’s peanut butter recipe, but the cookies were not peanut buttery enough for me. I am laughing at your Jiff comment (as I am slowing trying to wean away from Jiff). I caved last week and ate a spoonful out of the jar and it tasted so sugary to me. I’m starting to like the good, organic all natural stuff.

    I also love the size of these cookies as we are “big” cookie fans in this house!


    June 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    • Jackie, I usually don’t like big cookies just because I feel like they get crispy and crunchy because of their size. But these stay soft and chewy are are just plain awesome. Haha, and I grew up in a Adam’s all natural peanut butter house so Jiff just tastes like peanut butter frosting to me! Glad you’re converting. :)


      June 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  8. oh I do love a good peanut butter cookie!! really though there are not something Ive ever gone on the ‘perfect cookie’ search for though because almost ALL of them taste good to me. In fact yesterday I actually had a vegan fudge peanut butter cookie that had sat in my glove compartment from the start of the weekends road trip to the finish of it (I – very weirdly – forgot about it whilst we were in LA…). Anyways because Im so loathe to EVER throw anything away I ate it last night for a weekend treat dessert (yep – 3 days after buying – dont judge…) and it was STILL good. I guess maybe if I like 3 day old vegan cookies these would TOTALLY blow my mind – I probably need to try them!!!
    ps – Ooooh and actually one of my fave pre bought cookies (and a bit more healthy) are Nanas vegan peanut butter cookies which are made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with fruit juice… sounds weird but so good. Give them a try when you get bored of cooking!!
    pps – AND thank you for the totally adorable comment on my blog… Louis leaves on Monday (sob!) .. but I cant wait to get back to blogging! :) x0x0

    Em (Wine and Butter)

    June 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    • Hahah! Em your comments always make me laugh. These are a little intensive and fussy so I’m not sure if they’d be worth it for you, seeing as you love all peanut butter cookies. And thank you for recommending Nana’s peanut butter cookies! I’ve seen that brand on some vegan/healthy eating blogs before and I’ve always known they sounded good. Definitely going to buy some next time I see them. And I can’t wait to start seeing some posts of yours again!


      June 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

  9. I made these when we profiled Molly as part of our 50 Women Game Changers series. I chose them because she raved about them so much. I loved the saltiness, the milk chocolate, and the sheer size of these! They froze well, too, as I recall. Reading your post has made me want to make them again, I’d forgotten about them!

    • I remember when you posted about them. It was funny because it was soon after she had posted them– haha it takes me a lot longer to finally get around to making the recipes I bookmark.


      June 4, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  10. I have always been more a savory than sweet kinda person, these looks simply divine!

  11. I remember reading about these from Molly. This must be some damn cookie! I’m bookmarking them. These are some of your best photos! I enjoyed this one and come to think of it, can’t remember the last time I’ve had a peanut butter cookie. My husband would love these, minus the chocolate.


    June 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

  12. AMY! Your post thoroughly convinced me to make these for Wiley because he doesn\’t like anything too sweet, I didn\’t think I\’d like them since I\’m not a fan of milk chocolate. But oh my jesus they were so good. We froze them and made batches every night until they were gone, hands down the best cookie I\’ve ever made, definitely the best peanut butter cookie ever. I didn\’t really take the whole \”remove before cooked\” thing too seriously so the first batch was crap, they aren\’t very good burnt.
    Thanks for the awesome idea!
    P.S. I miss you and am sad that we never get to hang out. I think I need to change this.

    Nicole P.

    July 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  13. […] my personal favorite cookie), Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies, Nanaimo Bars, Homemade Thin Mints, Salted Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, Ginger Slice, and Stout […]

  14. […] adaptation of this peanut butter cookie recipe (via The Moveable Feasts – thanks Amy!), adding more Speculoos spread and reducing the butter content to compensate, these […]

  15. […] approximately 24 cookies; adapted from Orangette and the moveable feasts   (Note:  It is better to weigh all of the ingredients than it is to measure them out.  Also […]

  16. […] also got some peanut butter cookies sitting in the freezer and I’ve got plans to make a cheesecake. On the non-diabetic side of […]

  17. […] Moveable Feast Get the Salted Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies recipe from The Moveable […]

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