Published March 1, 1998.
The key to a peanutty cookie that is crisp on the edges and chewy in the center? Chunky commercial peanut butter and an extra hit of roasted, salted peanuts.
Recipes for peanut butter cookies tend to fall into one of two camps: sweet and chewy with a mild peanut flavor (which means lots of butter and sugar but not much egg), and sandy and crumbly with a strong peanut flavor (which means lots of peanut butter but not a lot of flour).
What we wanted, of course, was the best of both worlds--that is, crisp on the edges and chewy in the center, with lots of peanut flavor.
Commercial peanut butters helped the cookie rises and achieve a crispier edge and a softer center. Also playing roles in our quest for the "perfect" peanut butter cookie were the amount and type of sugar (white sugar is necessary for crisp edges and chewy centers, dark brown sugar enriches the flavor of the nuts); flour (too little and the cookies are oily, too much and they are dry); and leavening (baking soda contributes to browning and peanut flavor, baking powder provides lift, so both are necessary). The final turning point, however, rested on peanuts and salt. Adding some roasted, salted peanuts, ground in a food processor, and then adding still more salt (directly to the batter as well in the form of salted rather than unsalted butter) produced a strong roasted nut flavor without sacrificing anything in terms of texture.list of recipes