When it comes to comfort food, these Classic Peanut Butter Cookies are high up on my list. They come together quickly, taste amazing and use ingredients you probably already have on hand in your pantry.
Ready in 30 minutes
Without going into too much detail that isn’t mine to share, let me just say that it’s been a rough week in our family. No worries, Craig, Baby J and myself (plus Puppyface and Kittyface) are all fine, but we have some loved ones who are going through some really rough times, and it’s just been a difficult week all around. In fact, Craig just got back yesterday from an emergency trip up to Canada. I’m so glad he was able to step away from home and get up there when his family needed him, but, selfishly, I am so glad he is back. Being nine months pregnant and having your husband in another country is not the most pleasant thing, but he was needed much more up north than I needed him at home.
We’re all doing a lot of healing over the events of this past week, and, as much as the diet books and talk show hosts will try to tell you otherwise, I actually think finding comfort in food isn’t a bad thing. The fact of the matter is, food is inherently comforting. Just physiologically, the senses that go along with eating something pleasant (taste, smell, even feel) can help bring up your serotonin levels and help you feel happier. Food can literally make you feel better. And I’m not above exploiting that fact when some comforting needs to be done.
I agree, that when you use food as a crutch too often (or in too big of quantities) it can become a problem—and is a problem for a lot of folks that struggle to control it. But just like everything in my life, I believe that moderation is key here. I’ve always said that I hate that emotional eating gets villainized. Emotional eating isn’t the problem. I believe there is nothing wrong with wanting some cozy mac and cheese after a tough day at work. Or heck, even wanting to celebrate a big occasion with a piece of decadent cake. The issue starts to come in when that emotional eating turns into emotional overeating (whether that be in literal quantity of food, or in the frequency with which you use eating to tame your emotions). Quite honestly, I don’t want to live in a world where my food isn’t tied up with my emotions—the emotions are what make food so incredible to me.
Anywho, these simple peanut butter cookies are pretty much the epitome of comfort food for me. There isn’t any one particular moment that made them into a comfort food, but a collection of happy memories. Growing up, we almost never had any “junk” foods in the house. No chips. No soda. No desserts. But quite often, when Mama and I would get the hankering to bake something, we’d whip up these peanut butter cookies. Why these cookies? Well, we always had the ingredients to make them on hand, and when you live far out in the middle of nowhere, you aren’t going to run to the store just to grab some speciality ingredients because you’re in the mood to bake. So peanut butter cookies became our go-to cookie recipe. The peanut butter cookie page in Mama’s Better Homes & Gardens cookbook became so worn out and stained that it eventually just fell out of the cookbook—which was okay, because we had the recipe pretty much memorized anyway.
I’m not much of a baker, but I would say there is something incredibly therapeutic about firing up the oven, mixing together some good ole butter and sugar with a wooden spoon, and popping a sheet of cookies in to bake. A lot of life’s problems can be solved with a batch of homemade cookies. And the ones that can’t, well, at least the ritual of baking can take your mind to another place for a while, which is sometimes all you can do.
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- Sugar and shelled peanuts for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar using either a wooden spoon, a hand mixer or a stand mixture until well-combined.
- Add in the baking soda, baking powder, egg, and vanilla. And mix together until well-combined. Then, add in the flour, working in three batches, until mixed well. It'll get hard to stir at the end!
- Using damp hands, roll the dough into 1-1/2" balls, then roll in sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using a damp fork, flatten the cookies using a crosshatch pattern, and then push in peanut halves. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 7 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just begin to darken—do not overbake! Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, and then transfer using a spatula onto paper towels or a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will still feel very soft when transfer them, but will solidify as they cool (this way you know they are chewy and yum!).