When I was in kindergarten, the teacher had a laminated Cookie Monster necklace. At the end of the day, she’d give the necklace to one child to wear home. The mother of the marked child was the designated snack provider for the next day. Now I could be remembering it wrong, but I’m fairly certain the moms only had one evening’s notice to come up with some sort of a snack. Usually it was something like Saltines or Nilla Wafers, but one time it wasn’t. One time it was criss-cross peanut butter cookies. They tasted really good to me then because I’d never had them before. The taste and texture was imprinted and I’ve spent many years trying to reproduce it. I don’t think I ever will be as satisfied with the cookies as I was as a little kid, but I can’t eat criss-cross cookies without thinking of kindergarten and that in itself is kind of nice.
This recipe is very basic, but it will produce a fairly thick crisp peanut butter criss-cross cookie. The key ingredient is shortening. I use butter flavored for a little added flavor, but you can use regular if you want. You can also add a bit more peanut butter to intensify the peanut butter flavor, but if you do, the cookies might not be as crisp.
Basic Crispy Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening (Crisco removed most all of the trans-fat)
1/2 generous cup peanut butter (a little over 5 oz on the scale)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Some extra peanuts if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, and both sugars. Stir in the egg and vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add that mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir until incorporated. Add some peanuts (however many you want) if you feel like it.
Shape into small balls about ¾ inch in diameter and place balls a few inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Wet a fork with water and shake off excess. Press the damp fork into cookies and make deep criss-crosses. If fork dries, dampen it again and continue.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and place on a rack to cool.
Makes about 2 ½ dozen