Peanut butter cookies; the classic childhood snack that never fails to appeal. There’s a certain comfort in that predictable shape and crosshatch pattern, the tender, slightly crumbly texture, and the crunch of salty peanuts. But, always the curious cook, I wondered how I might tweak this cookie, just a little…When I was a child, I loved peanut butter with honey. So, I substituted some honey into the recipe, along with the brown sugar. Maybe it was the cool, dark, rainy day that got me thinking about warm spices, so in went cardamom, ginger, and allspice. The toasted peanuts stayed, and their flavor was accented with a little sprinkle of flaky salt on the cookies. The result? A tender, somewhat more fragile cookie than the usual after-school snack, but ever so good. There’s a balance of sweet and salty, and the spices don’t overwhelm the peanutty goodness of the cookie.
All in all, it’s a nice variation on a classic, and one that I’ll make again. Next time maybe with chocolate…??
Honey and Spice Peanut Butter Cookies
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey, whatever flavor you prefer
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- Finishing salt, such as Fleur de Sel or Maldon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. While the oven is heating, melt the butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Cook until it begins to brown and has a nutty fragrance, swirling the pan frequently. Set aside to cool. Toast the peanuts on a small baking sheet until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, allow to cool, and chop roughly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. Beat vigorously to blend. Add the egg and beat well. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the peanut butter and beat well to combine. Fold in the chopped peanuts.
- Measure out rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and drop onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a floured fork, press a cross-hatch pattern on the top of each cookie, keeping the cookies about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle each cookie with a little salt. Bake until set and golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Cool briefly on the cookie sheet, then transfer (carefully) to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy, with a cup of cold milk or coffee. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days.