Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook Peanut Butter Cookies

I've been trying to find this recipe online to avoid posting it myself, but have failed to find the exact version. Apparently, the recipe differs depending on which edition you have. My version comes from the 13th edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, published in 1990. The proportions are double that of other editions and but it uses half the amount of salt. More noteworthy to me, and I’ll explain why, is that it calls for shortening rather than butter.

I really don’t like baking with shortening. However, we were snowbound (hey thanks, Mother Nature!) and had precious little butter in the house. And precious few sweets. My darling husband was having a powerful hunger for cookies and I remembered this recipe, one of the few I have that specifically calls for shortening. I used Spectrum Organic Shortening which, unlike Crisco, is non-hydrogenated. I forget why I originally purchased it, but I do remember thinking that if I absolutely had to use shortening, I would prefer to spend a little extra for something a wee bit “healthier.” Both my local Hannaford and Target carry Spectrum Organic Shortening. Maybe it’s willful thinking on my part, but when I use the non-hydrogenated shortening, I don’t notice that yucky waxy mouthfeel that is typical of shortening-based baked goods. I found these cookies really tasty, and I’m reasonably sure that wasn’t the desperation for sweets talking.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (the weight conversions and the editorializing are my own)

1 cup (6.5 oz.) shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (7 oz.) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (9.5 oz.) smooth peanut butter
3 cups (12.75 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a half sheet pan with parchment. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly cream the shortening, vanilla, and sugars. Add the eggs and beat well. Beat in the peanut butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda; add to the peanut butter mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined. I used a cookie scoop (purple handled #40, which is 7/8 oz. for those who care about this sort of stuff) to measure the dough; place on the lined sheet pan. Press each cookie twice with the back of a fork to make the traditional crisscross design. Bake for 12 minutes (less if using a smaller portion of dough); cookies will be firm when lightly touched, but not brown. Makes about 4 dozen or so (I lost count of the trays going in and out of the oven and the cookies going in and out of mouths!) using the #40 scoop.

Crisscrossed and ready to go in the oven!

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