It’s that time of year where I find myself wearing short skirts with long sleeve sweaters, a chunky scarf with my cut off shorts. It’s silly really, but there’s that delicious bite of autumn in the wind. There’s a hint of a chill in the air down here in New Orleans, but enough of a sunny day to feel a little flirty. That alone is enough to have me ready to sugar-and-spice everything that goes into the oven.
If we’re going to mix seasons in our outfits, let’s do it in our cookies too. How about a classic peanut butter cookie made extra cozy with molasses and gingersnap spices? Are you nodding your head yes? I am too.
Consider this a cookie @ cookie moment similar to our Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies.
More is more. Let’s get baking!
Here’s what you’ll need to make these little sweeties:
• unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
• brown sugar
• peanut butter and molasses for richness and depth.
• warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
• an egg for binding
• vanilla because we’re baking.
• flour, baking soda, and salt for all the structure, lift and balance.
We’ll start like most cookies do, by creaming together softened butter and sugar.
I like adding the cozy spices along with the butter in these cookies because the fat helps distribute the spice flavor throughout the cookie essentially making then EVEN MORE DELICIOUS.
Once the butter and sugar are beaten to fluffy, work in the egg and vanilla extract.
Eggs are a wonder in baking and smooth out and aerate this cookie dough in the most lovely way.
Welcome smooth peanut butter and molasses into the bowl.
Now it’s really getting good.
Mix in the dry ingredients. I use a mixer but finish with a spatula to hustle up any hidden bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl.
At this point it’s going to be difficult not to spoon an entire spatulaful into your mouth. Try to hold off but honestly, it’s 2020… do whatever you need to do.
I transfer the cookie dough to a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill it for 30 minutes while the oven preheats and I prep the nuts and pans.
Portion the cookie dough into two tablespoon balls and roll them in either crushed peanuts or turbinado sugar or nothing at all.
I used a chopstick to press an X into each cookie to give them that peanut butter cookie mark but with a little twist.
Bake until just golden around the edges and puffed slightly. They’ll smell incredible. If you pay close attention, your nose will tell you when they’re done.
They such a sweet little cookie hybrid. Like traditional peanut butter cookies put their fall scarf on.
The combination creates a chewy, sweet but with a nutty depth, and spiced in the warmest way. It’s the best of two very good worlds. I hope these are your new afternoon treat. They’re simple and cozy.
Photos with my friend Jon Melendez.Print
A peanut butter cookie all dressed up for the holiday season.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted and salted peanuts or honey roasted peanuts
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and all of the spices on medium speed. Beat for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses and peanut butter and beat until just combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. It’s important to evenly combine these ingredients before adding them to the butter and egg mixture. Beat into the dough until just combined, stopping the mixer when the flour just disappears to finish incorporating by hand. Transfer dough to a large piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap and allow to chill for 30 minutes while the oven preheats. (The dough can be left to chill overnight or for a few nights before baking.)
- Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place chopped peanuts in a shallow bowl.
- Spoon cookie dough by the two tablespoonful and roll into a ball. Roll each dough ball in chopped peanuts to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet and flatten just slightly with the heel of your hand. Use a pencil, dowel, or chopstick to press and X into the cookie dough. Repeat with all of the cookie dough, leaving about 1 1/2 – 2 inches of space between each cookie portion.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until a deep golden brown around the edges. Allow to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
You can absolutely substitute a flax egg in these cookies as well as a gluten-free flour blend that combines xanthan gum.