Season of the Cookie: Peanut Butter Cookies

Have you ever wondered why you’re supposed to use the fork to make those little criss-cross marks on the tops of peanut butter cookies?

If you research the topic for too long, you’ll become famished for peanut butter cookies. Luckily, there’s a recipe below that will more than satisfy any craving that may arise. As for the origins of the “hatch marks,” there isn’t a single school of thought, but there are several viable explanations. The one I tend to fall behind is that the hatch marks are put specifically on peanut butter cookies to ward away anyone who has peanut allergies.

Seems to make sense, right? I remember one time my mother served my cousin Brett a jello mold with walnuts. A few minutes into eating it, Brett must have felt something going on internally and carefully asked, “Does something on my plate have walnuts in it?” My mother was desperately apologetic, but it did no good. Poor Brett ended up throwing up for the next hour and a half… in the living room, in the car, on the side of the freeway. We were heading to Disneyland, and ended up having to come home.

Thanks a lot, mom.  A few lazy hatch marks across the top of your jello salad and I could have been on The Matterhorn.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 and  1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside in a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter until fluffy and brown.
Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the egg and mix well.
Add the milk and the vanilla extract.  Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined.  Stir in the peanut butter chips.  Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Lightly indent the tops of each cookie with a fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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