When I’m in the mood for peanut butter cookies with a light, crumbly texture (kind of like the old school lunchroom cookies), this is the recipe I turn to. It’s from Sadie in Canada, who found it in an old church cookbook and was intrigued by the list of ingredients.
The original recipe called for lard instead of shortening or butter, and pastry flour rather than all-purpose. I’ve tried the recipe with lard, shortening and butter and have found that a mixture of shortening and butter works just perfectly for crumbly, light textured cookies. Pastry flour is easier to find these days, but when I first started making the cookies I used a substitute of half cake flour and half all-purpose, which has served me well to this day.
If you make these as directed and don’t skip the shortening (or lard), you should get light, crispy cookies. Bake time is key. For crisp cookies, bake longer and for tender cookies with crisp edges, bake just until the cookies appear set. Also, the cookies can be made with or without the criss-cross pattern. Unlike Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies which are stubby and crumbly (and probably my favorite!) these spread a bit so the criss-cross is more subtle. It still looks pretty and helps people identify the cookies as peanut butter.
- 4 oz (114 grams) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) non-hydrogenated shortening or leaf lard (114 grams)
- 1 cup (260 grams) peanut butter
- 1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
- 1 cup (190 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) salt
- 1 cup (114 grams) cake flour
- 1 cup (135 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts, chopped – (big handful)
- Cream butter, shortening (or lard), peanut butter, and both sugars together in a mixing bowl.
- Add eggs and beat until combined. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the soda and salt – make sure there are no lumps of stray soda.
- Stir in the cake flour, then stir in the all-purpose flour, followed by the chopped nuts.
- Chill the dough for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment or just use nonstick sheets and don't lined them with anything.
- Using a medium size cookie scoop, scoop out about 32 balls of dough and arrange 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. You can leave them as balls or you can use a fork and make a criss-cross pattern.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. The centers may seem a bit underdone at this point, but they will firm up. Let cookies cool on the pan 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
"First United Church, Waterloo, 1942"