In case you haven’t heard me shout it from the rooftops, I have a new book: “Dorie’s Cookies”! It’s the book I always knew I would write, because I’ve been a cookie lover almost since the day I was born. I grew up in a family of cookie lovers, and I created a family of cookie lovers. I recently found pictures from our son’s first birthday party, and there’s the cake with the candle, of course, but there’s also the picture of me holding him and smiling as he eats a home-baked cookie. We start ’em young in our family.
Because I worked on the book for about three years, I thought about cookies a lot, as in day and night. I thought about taste and texture and ingredients. I dreamed about cookies, which is how one of my favorites, the Classic Jammer, was born. And I considered the power of cookies.
My son, Joshua, whose official bio lists him as Cookie Monster, says that cookies are memories. I believe that, and I believe that all cookie memories are happy memories. My cookie mantra (yep, I’ve got one) is: Give a cookie. Get joy.
It’s too short to include the fact that making cookies is its own kind of joy, but if you’re a baker, you already know the pleasures of the craft.
So, I was working away on my book and baking cookies and giving them away as quickly as I was baking them — because that’s what you do with cookies; you bake a batch, you keep some, you share the rest — and I thought: Cookies are made to be shared. We never bake just one cookie, and we never bake cookies only for ourselves. (Even I, an everyday baker, don’t do that.) We always bake cookies in batches, we share what we bake and we make people happy.
Then I had my lightbulb moment: We bakers could make the whole world happy if we just continued doing what we do. And it was with this in mind that I launched the #cookiesandkindness project.
You can get the details on my website, but the idea is simple: Bake cookies. Share cookies. Post what you bake, and share with the hashtag #cookiesandkindness and tag me, @doriegreenspan, if you want me to see what you’ve done. (I’d love to see what you bake!)
I’m posting a recipe from “Dorie’s Cookies” each month on my site and another recipe here for you, my sweet readers. This month’s cookie, Peanut Butter Change-Ups, is a new take on a favorite of mine. Because the cookies are scooped, not pressed (and because I tinkered with the amounts and kinds of sugar), they’re shortbreadish on the edges and softer, cakier and, for reasons I can’t suss out, somehow more fully peanutty and flavorful in the center than my still-beloved classics.
●You can use either smooth or chunky peanut butter; my preference is for extra-chunky on the theory that too much of a good thing is just right.
●Make sure to choose a homogenous peanut butter — you don’t want to see a layer of oil on top of the jar. There are many natural peanut butters that don’t separate and many that do, so shop carefully. (I grew up on Skippy, so it’s my choice for these cookies.)
●I like to use a cookie scoop with a capacity of about 1 1/2 tablespoons (a #40 disher) to portion and shape the dough. Cookie scoops give you mounds of dough that are all the same size, so they’ll all bake at the same time. If you don’t have a scoop, use a spoon and then roll the dough into balls between your palms.
●You can scoop the dough and freeze the mounds for up to 2 months. Take them out of the freezer, put them on a lined baking sheet while you preheat the oven, then bake.
Bake. Share. Post. Repeat. I’ll see you on the front lines of the #cookiesandkindness revolution.
Greenspan will chat online Nov. 9 from 1 to 2 p.m.: live.washingtonpost.com.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect amount of flour in grams. It is 272, not 384.
Use a peanut butter that doesn’t separate; Dorie Greenspan recommends Skippy brand.
MAKE AHEAD: The dough can be portioned into mounds and frozen for up to 2 months. The baked cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from Greenspan’s “Dorie’s Cookies” (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
2 cups (272 grams) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (384 grams) smooth or chunky peanut butter, at room temperature (see headnote)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 cup (134 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (146 grams), lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and nutmeg (to taste) in a medium bowl.
Combine the peanut butter, unsalted butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld mixer; beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Add the granulated and light brown sugars; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until they are well incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time for 1 minute each on medium speed. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Add the flour mixture all at once; pulse a few times to start blending in those dry ingredients, then beat on medium-low speed until well incorporated. Add the chopped peanuts and beat on low speed, just until evenly distributed. Stop the motor; use a spatula to give the dough a few turns, making sure no trace of flour is left.
Use a medium cookie scoop (about 11/2 tablespoons, a #40 disher) to transfer level scoops of dough to the baking sheets, spacing the dough mounds 11/2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the mounds with granulated sugar.
Bake (upper and lower racks) for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back; bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges are set but the cookies feel squeezable. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies directly to the racks to cool completely.
Repeat to use the remaining dough, making sure the baking sheets are cool before reusing.
Nutrition | Per cookie: 140 calories, 3 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar
Recipe tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org