But what if you’re the kind of cook who keeps only natural peanut butter in their cabinet? Will this grainier spread, which also usually has a slick of separated oil sitting at the top, work as well?
The answer is yes—but only if you take this one key step: You’ve got to stir the peanut butter well just before measuring it—and you’ve got to make sure that you’ve been stirring just as thoroughly all along. Only then will you ensure that the PB going into your dough has the proper ratio of solids to fats. (If you have any doubts, it's best to spring for a new jar.)
Don’t worry that natural peanut butter isn’t usually sweetened while the conventional kind is—in our recipes we didn’t notice a difference. But do bake with a natural PB that has salt, so your cookies will be properly seasoned, heightening all the flavors of these old-fashioned favorites.