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Best Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

The secret to these cookies is shortening. The best old fashioned peanut butter cookies are lighter, fluffier and crispier, thanks to vegetable shortening.

I remember back in the day when my grandmother bought metal buckets of shortening for all her “baking and frying needs.” (Then we used the buckets for berry picking when they were empty. We put a belt through the handle and strapped it around our waist so we could pick berries hands-free. Perfect.)

Back then, shortening was made differently, with trans fats that we didn’t know were bad for us. Now that we know better, we have vegetable shortening.

Oro antique shortening pail

Why use shortening in peanut butter cookies?

Using shortening in baking gives cookies a little different texture: lighter, fluffier with a crispier exterior.

  • Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, so cookie dough spreads less creating a fluffier cookie (unless you chill the butter dough 2 hours before baking)
  • Shortening is 100% fat (where butter is around 80% fat and 20% water), so there is no increase in gluten production during baking which makes cookies more tender
  • Shortening is now being made without trans fats
  • You can bake your cookies right away and end up with irresistible peanut butter cookies right out of the oven.

Cookie utensils that make baking cookies easier.

cookie lifter

Use a cookie/brownie lifter with a beveled edge so your cookies don’t get smushed. On Amazon.

cookie scoop

An easy-release scoop makes uniform cookies & for meatballs, devilled eggs and more. On Amazon.

Both items are also available at your local dollar store.

Best Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c packed brown sugar
  • ½ c shortening
  • ½ c peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ c flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • peanuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Mix sugars, shortening, peanut butter, and egg in a large bowl on high speed until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Stir together in separate bowl flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until blended.
  5. Shape into ¾” balls and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet. Press peanut into center of each ball, flattening it slightly.
  6. Bake until set but not hard, with outer edge slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  7. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes (won’t be as crumbly) then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Want more? See all of our peanut butter cookie recipes.

Want to see our new peanut butter recipes? And more!

peanut butter merrymaker

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