Peanut butter cookies are a classic family favourite. This dairy-free version is super easy to make and they’re great for taking out on microadventures for refuelling! This recipe was originally published in February 2014 and was republished in April 2019 with new photos, video and a printable recipe card.
My grandmother’s easy peanut butter cookie recipe
Shortly after Christmas (2014) I received a heavy parcel in the post all the way from California. It contained scanned and bound copies of my grandmother’s handwritten cookery notebooks kindly copied and posted by my step-father (who, although he was born and raised on the East Coast of Canada now calls the warmer climes of the western USA his home). What a treasure these papers are. It’s wonderful to see my grandmother’s handwriting after all these years (she passed away when I was only sixteen) and to relive her cooking journey through them – it’s priceless.
I’ve been working my way through these recipes one by one, jotting my own notes next to hers. There are some rather bizarre recipes contained within those pages! I think most of the recipes date from the 1960s through to the 1990s, but some could be even older.
Some ingredients I can’t buy here in the UK (like graham crackers and Chipits) and I notice a distinct lack of butter in the ingredients lists. Shortening (white vegetable fat for my UK readers) is a common fat substitute.
The recipe instructions aren’t always clear or even complete, so I am testing my own cooking abilities by filling in the blanks. I hope to share many of these recipes with you once they’ve passed my family taste test first!
The first recipe I’ve made from these treasured pages which have generated a resounding, lip-smacking Yes! from my entire family is this peanut butter cookie recipe. I’ve slightly adapted the original recipe by adding finely chopped peanuts (or sometimes a whole peanut) on the top, but other than that this is my grandmothers.
They make for a perfect refuelling snack while out on microadventures with the kids. See what our youngest thought of them in our latest microadventure video below!
Smuggler’s Cave – Shetland Microadventures S1: E2
During the school Easter holidays, we visited the Smuggler’s Cave in Burra, Shetland.
This is the second episode of a Shetland Microadventure vlog series our youngest, myself and my husband are making.
Does anyone else in North America remember the peanut butter sold in teddy bear shaped glass jars? When you opened the lid there was always a whole peanut sitting on the top. I think placing a peanut on the top of these cookies was inspired by that childhood memory.
Peanut butter is quite different now than what I remember as a child. Maybe it’s because there is more emphasis on healthy eating and reduced sugar these days. Now, and I insist on for maximum flavour you try and do this yourself, you should use peanut butter with a very short ingredients list: ideally just peanuts! My favourite is the Whole Earth smooth original peanut butter but under no circumstances should sugar be on the ingredients list.
These cookies are incredibly more-ish. I ate far too many of them and only just managed to salvage enough for the children’s lunchboxes before they all disappeared! There is just the right amount of chew and crunch and they’re wicked with a big glass of ice cold milk.
What ingredients are needed for these cookies?
- 1/2 cup/ 140 grams peanut butter (preferably no sugar added)
- 1/2 cup/ 100 grams vegetable shortening
- 1 cup/ brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1.5 cups/ all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- chopped roasted, salted peanuts – optional
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How to make this easy cookie recipe – step by step instructions
- Cream together the brown sugar and shortening until light. Add the egg and vanilla.
- Sift over the flour and baking soda.
- Mix well until it forms a soft cookie dough.
- Roll into 1-inch round balls and arrange on a baking sheet.
- Press down slightly with a fork dipped in cold water.
- Add chopped peanuts (optional) and bake in a pre-heated 180 C/ 350 F oven for 8-10 minutes.
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Tips for making this classic cookie recipe
- use a silicone baking mat to help stop the cookies from spreading too much
- make sure your peanut butter is a sugar-free variety for the best flavour
- ensure your baking tray is cooled between batches – I pop mine outside for a few minutes to cool quickly
How many Weight Watchers Points are in this recipe?
There are 5 Weight Watchers Smart Points per cookie.
Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
- Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F and lightly grease a baking sheet. Alternatively, use a silicone baking mat (I use this – it’s great!)
- In a large bowl, cream together white vegetable fat, peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the beaten egg and vanilla, mixing well.
- Sift together flour and soda and add to the wet mixture, combining well.
- Roll into balls one inch in diameter and place, well spaced apart, on the prepared baking sheet.
- Using a fork dipped in cold water, gently flatten each biscuit.
- Press a whole peanut, or some chopped peanuts, into the top of each biscuit.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Leave cookies to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.