Magical, 4-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

    
Alright, I admit it: I was skeptical when I first came across this recipe. I've baked quite a few cookies in my day, after all, and never before had I come across ones quite like these peanut butter cookies, which are curiously, strangely, suspiciously devoid of:

-Flour
-Butter
-Baking powder or baking soda

Weird, isn't it? Even if you're not a baker you know that flour and butter are pretty important baking ingredients, right?! Perplexed, I wondered if perhaps this was one of those dairy-free, gluten-free type deals that, while perhaps producing something that resembled a cookie, still left something to be desired, not tasting completely complete. They would be flat, I figured, on the overly-crunchy side, perhaps acceptable when you want a cookie, and fast, but by no means up to snuff for those of us who have baked things like Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies and thus have incredibly high cookie standards. After a bit of contemplation, my curiosity proved to be stronger than my skepticism, bolstered as well by the fact that Deb Perelman, Her Royal Blogging Highness, had not only given these her stamp of approval, she'd raved about them on her site Smitten Kitchen. In the end, I went ahead and followed this oddball recipe, and here's what I found they did have:

-A pure, rich peanut butter flavor -- after all, no flour and overall fewer ingredients leaves more room for the peanut butter to shine -- producing a cookie that is intensely peanut butter-y and not for the peanut butter faint of heart;
-An incredibly soft and chewy interior, which contrasts beautifully with a slightly crisp exterior;
-A perfect, round, slightly tall cookie shape, surprising given the lack of baking powder/soda;
-Only 4 (!!!) basic ingredients that you probably have on hand, all of which are whisked together in 1 (!!!) bowl, meaning there is little standing in the way between you and a batch of these beauties whenever a cookie craving hits on 8pm on a Wednesday night (anyone else?)

Yep, these cookies are beyond fantastic, and given its short ingredient list and lack of typical cookie ingredients, pretty magical, too (I've said it before and I've said it again -- there really is something marvelous about cooking and baking). They possess a certain addictive-ness unrivaled by any cookie I've baked thus far -- the salty-sweet combination got me here -- and I admit it, only about half of this batch made it to my office this time (don't say I didn't warn you). Bonus: These would also be a perfect Passover dessert (no flour, no leavening agents) or great for anyone who is avoiding gluten.

Notes: This recipe can be easily halved, though these cookies are so good, I recommend that you think twice before doing so. Feel free to leave out the chocolate chips if you want just plain peanut butter cookies, or substitute chopped peanuts for the chocolate chips. You could probably also make this with chunky peanut butter if you want to up the peanut butter factor, but I suspect that you'll get the best results in terms of texture with a smooth peanut butter. You could also substitute natural peanut butter for the regular peanut butter, but the consistency and overall appearance of the cookies might be a bit different. You can leave out the freezing mentioned in the directions below if you're short on time -- the cookies will still be good, but may not have such a nice shape. Finally, I made these cookies a bit smaller and used about 1 tablespoon dough per cookie, but in the original recipe each cookie was made with 1/4 cup dough (4 tablespoons) to make giant cookies.

Looking for other peanut butter cookies? I also have these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. Want more cookies? Check out these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, these Brownie Cookies, these Brown Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, these Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, these Shortbread Cookies, and these Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, this Oatmeal Cookie Cake, and this Chocolate Chip Cookie Icebox Cake. Looking for more flourless, Passover sweets? How about these Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, this Mascarpone and Nutella with Raspberries, these Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake Bars, these Salted Brown Butter Krispy Treats, these Red Wine Chocolate Truffles, or this Chocolate Gelato?!

MAGICAL, 4 INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy)


1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet with a little butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth.
Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips, if using.
Put the bowl of dough in the freezer for 15 minutes, stirring it once (so the edges don’t freeze first) before scooping it. Place a tablespoon of dough (or as much as you want -- see my notes) per cookie on the aforementioned greased baking sheet. For the tallest final cookie shape, place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Bake smaller cookies for 14 to 15 minutes and larger for 18 to 20. When finished, the cookies should be golden at the edges. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cool completely before eating. Makes 24-28 magical cookies.
Recipe courtesy of Ovenly Bakery, by way of www.smittenkitchen.com, and adapted, just barely.



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