School Lunch Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch cookies. Reprinted from “American Cookie” by Anne Byrn.
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed (see Baking tip)
½ cup granulated sugar, plus about 2 tablespoons for pressing into the top of cookies
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 F. Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
2. Place the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar and ½ cup of the granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and egg, and beat on medium-low until the mixture is smooth, about 45 seconds. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
3. Whisk together the sifted flour, soda and salt in a medium-size bowl and turn this into the peanut butter mixture. Beat with the mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
4. Drop the dough in 1-inch pieces spaced about 3 inches apart on the pans. Press the top of each ball twice with a fork dipped in the remaining granulated sugar, creating a crosshatch pattern. Place one pan at a time in the oven.
5. Bake the cookies until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Baking Tip: Use whatever brown sugar you have on hand. Dark brown sugar creates a dark and flavorful cookie. But most people prefer light.