Or, peanut butter m&m cookies can be Christmassy if I say they are, so there. At last year’s holiday lunch, my good pal Pookie brought some to-die-for peanut butter cookies with m&ms in them. She told me the recipe came from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours, which I immediately borrowed from the library in order to copy down the recipe. I know that I have claimed before that the Joy of Cooking peanut butter cookies are perfect, but the last time I made them, I really found them to be way too dry and crunchy. I guess it’s a week for trying things out I’ve been meaning to for a while, because when I realized I had Christmas Eve off and nothing to do until the evening, I figured it’d be as good a time as any to make these cookies. I mean, what’s more Christmas Evey than baking cookies? (Well, probably a lot of things, but who’s counting?)
Anyway, these cookies turned out gigantic and they were plentiful. The recipe calls for chopped peanuts and/or crunchy peanut butter, but I went with the IPB standard and stuck with creamy peanut butter and added in just less than a cup of plain m&ms. And I just now tasted one, and they turned out pretty awesome, if a little less chewy than I remembered.
Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
from Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but you can also use crunchy)
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts (I used 1 cup plain m&ms instead)
About 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line to baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (NOTE: I just kept the rack in the middle, and since I only have one silicone mat, the other cookie sheet went bare. It seemed fine.)
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for a minute or two, until smooth and creamy. (NOTE: I don’t have a stand mixer OR a hand mixer, so I used good ol’ elbow grease.) Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and, on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappear. Mix in the chopped peanuts. You’ll have soft, pliable (mushable, actually) dough.
Pour the 1/2 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and drop the balls, a couple at a time, into the sugar. Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them, then place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. Dip the tines of a fork in the sugar and press the tines against each ball first in one direciton and then in a perpendicular direction – you should have a flattened round of dough with crisscross indentations.
Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When done,the cookies will be lightly colored and still a little soft. Let the cookies sit on the sheets for a minute before transferring them to cooling racks with a wide metal spatula. Cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough. making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.