April 18, 2013

Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Cookies

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies

My man loves Peanut Butter Cookies!  He gets the prepackaged ones from 7-11 all the time and he just recently, unknowingly, bought a giant vegan peanut butter cookie.  Sorry vegans, but it just wasn't the same without the eggs and butter! :(

cream cheese peanut butter cookies

After this, I decided to make him a batch of fabulous cookies, but I didn't want to do a plain ol' PB cookie.  I tossed around the idea of either adding cream cheese or apples...  both options sounded so good, I thought I'd make the cream cheese ones now and save the apple PB cookies for apple season!

cream cheese peanut butter cookiescream cheese peanut butter cookies

These cookies came together really quickly and disappeared from the house just as fast!  I gave some to a friend for her birthday and my man took a bunch to his work. 

cookie dough

Let me ask you a question... Why do we make the cross-hatch markings on peanut butter cookies?  When and where did that all start?  Well, I did a little bit of research and came across a couple of different theories, some more realistic than others, I think.  I read all about the history of peanut butter cookies and learned that cookies with peanuts in them have been around for a long time, but peanut butter didn't show up as an ingredient in cookies until the early 1920s.  The early PB cookies were rolled and cut into shapes, some were rolled into balls, but it wasn't until an article in the Schenectady Gazette on July 1, 1932 was published that we began "forking" them.  The article said, "Shape into balls and after placing them on the cookie sheet, press each one down with a fork, first one way and then the other, so they look like squares on waffles."  Pillsbury then made that process more popular throughout the 1930s.  The publication, however, did not say why.

peanut butter cookies

Many theories have spread, including some folks that believed the criss-cross marks were meant to have some sort of religious ties, the fork marks representing a cross.  Others believed it was just so that you could distinguish a PB cookie from a sugar cookie, due to the allergy factor.  The one that makes the most sense to me is the fact that peanut butter cookie dough is much more dense than other cookies and do not spread very much during the baking process like other cookies do, so therefore in order to achieve even baking the cookie is flattened.  Perhaps the fork was used just for an interesting look on top of the flattened cookie. 

peanut butter cookies

I think we all need to brainstorm and find more creative ways to flatten a peanut butter cookie... Who's with me?  We may start something new here, guys!  Let me hear your ideas!

Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from Miss in the kitchen

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment,  cream the butter, cream cheese, peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is incorporated.  Add the vanilla and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  With the mixer on low, carefully add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture about a 1/2 cup at a time. 

Add the 1/3 cup of sugar to a small bowl.  Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, make small balls of dough and roll them each in the sugar.  Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat about 2 inches apart.  Using a fork, lightly smash each cookie with a cross-hatch pattern. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies just start to brown.  Remove from the oven and allow them to sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes more.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling. 


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