The secret to these cookies is shortening. The best old fashioned peanut butter cookies are lighter, fluffier and crispier, thanks to 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.)
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
Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
- 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
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Mix sugars, shortening, peanut butter, and egg in a large bowl on high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Stir together in separate bowl flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until blended.
- Shape into ¾" balls and place 2" apart on cookie sheet. Press peanut into center of each ball, flattening it slightly.
- Bake until set but not hard, with outer edge slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes (won't be as crumbly) then transfer to rack to cool completely.
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