Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Natural or Regular Peanut Butter...Cookies

Good Morning! I hope you all had a great Labor Day. I quite enjoyed mine! 

It's never very fun to have a project go awry for yourself, but I think that the most frustrating fails I've had have been when I have been doing a project to give away or to share with someone else. The fails didn't even have to be horribly wrong to be horribly frustrating; maybe it feels like such a worse fail because you were working hard to be charitable and kind and the project turns against you.  Anyway...all that to say, "Lisa, I feel your pain."

Lisa recently moved and her neighbors "are super friendly, and super in the kitchen as well. They also love to share and are bringing over treats at least once a week." She decided to return the kindness and make them a treat, but she had to be careful because one of the neighbor children has a milk allergy. She found this 4-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie recipe on Pinterest, did a little happy dance, and whipped it up. 

The Original Pin
Ok...I'm a Peanut Butter lover, but those look pretty dang good. And only 4 ingredients? Wow. But on the other hand...these "simplified" and reduced ingredient recipes always  make me a little nervous. 

The Pinstrosity

And here are Lisa's "paper-thin, rock hard Peanut Butter hockey pucks."

Sad day. So much good Peanut Butter in the trash can. 

Lisa told us, "I'll admit to subbing out natural Peanut Butter for reduced fat (all I had on hand) and adding a little extra sugar because the dough looked very sticky but, c'mon, can that really make THAT big of a difference? Apparently so."

Let's take a look at what the original recipe called for and see how big of a difference her substitution and addition could make. 


  • 1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bingo...do you see it? I've got the key to the puzzle. It's the natural Peanut Butter. 

What's the difference between natural and "regular" PB you ask? Let me show/tell you (and we're just covering the differences...this isn't an expos√© on which is better or the good/bad of corn syrup or anything like that). 

Delicious Orchards All Natural Peanut Butter
photo source: http://www.deliciousorchardsnjonline.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=195

Natural Peanut Butter are ground up peanuts with very few (if any) additives. It is usually thicker and more coarse than "regular" PB. It also has a slightly different taste because it uses peanut oil rather than vegetable oil and it usually does not have added sugars or preservatives. 

photo source:  http://hypotheticalhelp.com/2011/06/peanut-butter-is-for-sandwiches/

"Regular" Peanut Butter is more creamy, more sticky, and less thick than natural PB. The peanuts are usually ground finer than in natural PB so that it can be mixed more thoroughly with the vegetable oil, corn syrup and preservatives.

Either way, natural or regular, I could eat it with a spoon. Okay, maybe I already do. 

my photo from a Daily Photo Challenge I participate in...
In this recipe you need the texture and consistency of the natural peanut butter to help hold the cookie together as there is no flour (these no flour recipes are tricky). Also...as the regular PB has sugars added to it in the form or corn syrup, it is going to "melt" differently than the natural PB during cooking. The whole key to 4-ingredient recipe is the natural Peanut Butter.

Now for the extra sugar part of the equation. Sometime in our life many of us have melted sugar...be it in high school chemistry lab, making no-bake cookies, cooking up some candy, etc. It melts, spreads, browns and gets bubbly. Then, when it cools it hardens up fast. When you add too much sugar to a recipe and throw off the ingredient ratio too much you'll definitely notice. Too much sugar in cookies can cause the cookies to "melt" and spread out thin, look "bubbly" and then they'll cool and be extra hard. So a little bit of extra sugar might not change things up too much, but too much and you have issues.

When there are plenty of ingredients in a recipe, changing things up might not make as big of a difference. When there are only 4 ingredients though, making one change changes 1/4 of the recipe...that's a good chunk! These recipes usually only work if they are followed to a T.

So...don't have natural PB around and don't want to go to the store? Let me give you my favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe that we use all the time (which can be made dairy free as well). I'll just copy and paste it from my post on a family recipe exchange blog I'm a part of.

Peanut Butter Cookies (or just the dough...)

This is one of our favorite cookie dough recipes. We found it online and it is great!


1/2 c. granulated (white) sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter/margarine, room temperature
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes.
2. Mix in the peanut butter and egg.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients-flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the sugar/butter mixture.
4. The recipe we use calls for wrapping the dough in plastic and refrigerating it for at least 3 hours...but we haven't ever done that and it's turned out good.
5. Now, here is where you have to make your choice...we have actually only baked this dough once...and it made a really good cookie, but (don't read on Kathleen...just skip to the next step) we usually eat it raw when we watch a movie (instead of popcorn)...so you have to decide how you want to consume it. If you're not going to bake it, you're done!
6. If you are going to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place them about 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Here, the recipe says to flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork, but we get a glass, dip the bottom end in sugar, and flatten them that way (like a sugar cookie).
7. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.

The recipe says that if you want chewier cookies, bake it at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, but to get softer cookies, we bake at the normal temperature and just pull them out earlier. Either way works.

Tonight, we were watching Myth Busters and decided to try out a new way of eating the dough. Don't yell at me for eating raw dough; it's my favorite and I'm not afraid. I know some are against it and some aren't bothered by it. Eat at your own risk...I do. 


  1. I actually use that exact recipe with regular kraft peanut butter all the time. The dough is normally very sticky. It may have been the reduced fat that was the problem. Less of a binding protean possibly.

    1. Same here. This is the only recipe I use and I just use regular Skippy peanut butter. They always come out amazing!

  2. you can make 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies. I make them all the time and they have never turned out bad.

    1 c peanut butter (I use peter pan)
    1 c. sugar + a little for sprinkling
    1 egg

    mix all in a bowl and roll into one inch balls and put down on a sprayed cookie sheet. Take a fork and flatten crisscross into cookies. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 350 for 8-9 min.

    1. This is exactly the recipe I use too. They turn out fantastic every time.

    2. Yes! I was just going to comment about this - I LOVE these cookies, especially when I am craving sweets but have no groceries in the house - I almost always have at least peanut butter, sugar, and an egg! My guess would be the reduced fat was where the problem came from.

    3. Same! I have been making them for years and they are always perfect. The only warning I give people is they look raw from the oven and need to cool to firm up. I use whatever peanut butter I have which is not usually natural peanut butter...maybe that's all it is

    4. This is my favourite as well. Its my fail safe, go to recipe for when I need peanut butter cookies and I need them NOW!

  3. If you are planning on eating the dough raw, just leave out the egg. Then no issue.

  4. As long as you are careful, eating raw eggs is pretty low risk for a healthy (and not pregnant) adult. The main risk of salmonella in raw eggs comes from the outside of the shell. If you crack your eggs on a sharp edge (the side of your bowl, the edge of a knife, etc) than you risk teeny tiny pieces of shell being pushed into the egg and therefore have a higher risk of salmonella. Instead, crack your eggs on a flat surface (the counter or table top), and your chances of consuming egg shell is greatly reduced. Also, never use the broken halves of your shell to separate the white from the yolk, as that can also contaminate your eggs. Just be careful and enjoy your cookie dough!

  5. I've been making this same recipe for at least 20 years. It works perfectly with regular peanut butter (Jif). You can roll them between your hands into balls or flatten them with fork tines. Both turn out great.

  6. I've been making these cookies (minus the vanilla) for years with natural peanut butter, and they have always turned out fine. They look just like the ones in the original pin and are plenty sweet. I used to make them a lot for little gluten intolerant friends.

    Whatever went wrong with this pinstrosity wasn't the PB.

  7. Your last picture has sent me in a "I should probably make that" frenzy....thanks ;)

  8. The aforementioned Lisa here with an update-got hubby to pick up some natural peanut butter on his way home from work after I sent this in. I retried the recipe using exact measurements (no extra sugar ;-) ) and voila, perfect cookies. It it sounds like your assessment on the PB and the sugar was dead on!

    I did also attempt to eat the hockey puck batch, but after I nearly pulled some dental work loose, I gave up. Not even a long dip in some milk helped those suckers!

  9. I actually make this all the time, except it's only 3 ingredients.

    1cp PB
    1cp sugar
    1 egg

    They're my husband's favorite kind of cookies and i've never had an issue with them...

    1. I make the exact same ones! The recipe was in an old school cookbook from the 70's...Never had a problem with them either, and I use regular peanut butter. :)

  10. If you use pasteurized eggs, you can eat all the raw dough you want with no fear at all.

  11. I make these all the time with regular peanut butter and have never had a problem, haven't tried it with natural pb before, but my guess for the pinstrosity is the fact that she used reduced fat pb. Hubby won't go for the whole healthy thing so never tried it with reduced fat or light anything before! lol It really is an easy recipe, that I always have ingredients on hand for and it's one of the few baked goods I don't need a recipe for. 1 cup pb, 1 cup sugar 1 egg! I've even added chocolate chips, cocoa powder and even made black eyed susan cookies with hershey kisses! My Aunt even uses splenda for baking with success! I've been seeing chocolate peanut butter in the supermarket, waiting on a coupon, and will try with that. Wondering if this would work with nutella or the new hazelnut jif spreads, might just have to give it a try even if it's a pinstrosity! lol

  12. It's the reduced fat... I know from experience :)

  13. As with above, I've made this recipe too, with regular p. butter (Kraft extra creamy in fact) and had picture perfect results. Check your altitude, times and temperatures carefully.

  14. I make these (gluten free) cookies all the time, and they have never turned out bad. I bet it was the reduced fat pb

  15. I've made these for years different recipe. Always turn out for me.

    1 cup of any type of peanut butter
    1 cup of dark or light brown sugar
    1 egg

    mix, roll into balls, hatch mark tops with a fork and regular sugar. bake at 350 for ten to 15 minutes. Pull them out even if they look raw as long as they have had time to cook the egg. they stiffen when cool. Perfect.

  16. The way we have ALWAYS made peanut butter cookies is 1 cup pnt butter 1 cup sugar(white) 1 egg. roll into balls and use fork to rpess down or put a hershey kiss in the middle! bake at 350 for 10 min. always turn out perfect~

  17. "1 Cup Peanut Butter
    1 Cup Sugar
    1 Beaten Egg
    1 tsp Vanilla Extract

    Combine all ingredients and stir until dough consistency is achieved. Roll into balls, place 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheet and smash with a fork to achieve the classic criss-cross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then place on wire rack. Let cool on rack for 5 minutes and eat warm or let cool fully and enjoy."

    This is a great recipe that's easy to remember and make. I made these for dessert for an impromptu dinner when we had a surprise visit from family. Our brother-in-law who is professional chef was really impressed with how fast, easy, and good they were.

    I use the regular name brand peanut butter we always have on hand which would likely make a difference from the reduced fat peanut butter. When it's first mixed together it looks more like a batter than a dough, but keep stirring and it will achieve that cookie dough consistency.

    I will note that when I used the chunky peanut butter the dough shed liquid. I had to add more than the 1 cup of chunky peanut butter to keep it from being wet when I rolled it into balls. I suspect the peanuts meant less liquid from the egg was absorbed by the peanut butter.

    1. That must have been my problem! I've been making these for years, and never had a bad batch until I tried using chunky pb. Any idea how much more you used to compensate?

  18. I've been making these cookies for years now and they always come out perfect. I use the exact same recipe and I'm not sure -how- people can manage to have them come out in such a mess? I've been thinking of making them this week. Mmmm. I use normal creamy peanut butter, regular granulated sugar, 1 egg (not beaten, just mixed into the mix with the rest of the ingredients) and the vanilla.

  19. I've these for years using Skippy peanut butter, but for some reason when I tried the last couple time I also had the flat, not appetizing texture cookies.

    When I used Jif, then the cookies came out fine. I think Skippy changed their peanut butter ingredients.

  20. As long as you use pasteurized eggs you should be okay.


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