Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies with Salted Peanuts and Sesame
When I made these peanut butter cookies the other day my boyfriend pointed out to me, "Amore, there are peanuts everywhere in this house. Siamo circondati amo." I looked down at my lunch which had peanuts sprinkled all over this crazy, fusion bibimbap I'd put together last minute (hint: bibimbap is a great way to use up vegetables!). Behind me and all over the table there were dozens of these peanut butter cookies laying around, chilling on various wire racks.
It's not that I am a big fan of peanuts, but somehow they always manage to find a way into my food. I never used to eat them because my mother told me that they would make me fat (I can still imagine her saying this to me over our video call now, after complimenting me on how good I look today).
Over the years peanuts have become an important part of my cooking repertoire. It goes like this: salad needs crunch? Add peanuts. Noodles need some fun? Add shallots and peanuts. Sauce lacking oomph? Mix in tahini or peanut butter. And sprinkle with peanuts. Korean fried chicken needs a good scattering of peanuts too, of course, because what's a beer snack without peanuts?
Peanuts are delicious, and peanut butter is amazing. My Italian friends can pay me out as much as they like for loving this 'so fatty' nut butter, but peanut butter is to Americans (and Aussies to a lesser extent) what Nutella is to Italians and Vegemite to Aussies. Health-wise, Vegemite rules, so by default, Aussies rule.
Nah, I'm only kidding.
My point is, always have a bag of peanuts nearby. You'll be on your way to being a food stylist in no time.
Which brings me to these peanut butter cookies with salted peanuts and sesame seeds. The ingredients to these cookies are simple: you will need an equal amount of butter and peanut butter, then white and brown sugar, flour, and baking powder. As a final touch you want to add some crushed peanuts - salted or otherwise - and white sesame seeds.
Peanuts and sesame are often seen together as a flavour combination, especially in Asian cooking in both savoury (like Chinese peanut and sesame noodles) and sweet dishes (Korean sesame and peanut yeot-gangjeong!), so it makes perfect sense to unite the two in a cookie.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is a one-bowl recipe, meaning you will be cleaning up just one mixing bowl afterwards. As much as I love cooking, after three months of quarantine and eating at home, I jump at the opportunity to make any one-bowl recipe, and I know you would too.
What do these peanut butter cookies taste like?
You know what peanut butter tastes like - imagine it in a lighter version with a buttery, shortbread-like bite. The texture can only be described as 'melt-in-your-mouth' - these cookies are not chewy or hard, and are perfect alongside a glass of milk or tea.
They're super addictive too - you have been warned.
Note that the sesame seeds sprinkled at the end are definitely noted in the flavour, so if you are not a big fan of sesame, you can easily omit it.
How to make these peanut butter cookies with salted peanuts and sesame
There are no hidden tricks here - you start by mixing the soft butter with the sugars, followed by the peanut butter, then flour and baking powder. The dough should come together nicely. Gather the dough and flatten it into a disk. You want to place this disk between two sheets of baking paper so you can easily roll it out to a 5mm thickness without making any mess.
I like to chill the dough in the fridge for about half an hour just to make it easier to cut neatly. After you cut your dough into nice squares, place them on a lined baking sheet. These cookies won't spread as much as others typically do, so if you place them about 3-4 cms apart that should be plenty to not end up with a giant peanut butter pancake.
Once you are ready, bake for about 8-12 minutes - mine were perfectly golden at 10 minutes, but as I always say, every oven has a mind of its own so keep an eye on them from about 8 minutes onwards. When they are golden all over, they are done. Pull them out of the oven and let them cool for about 10-15 minutes on the warm tray, during which they will harden. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Peanut Butter Cookies with Salted Peanuts and Sesame Recipe
Makes about 30 cookies
Peanuts and sesame are a flavour combination often used in both savoury and sweet dishes across many Asian cuisines. I love the taste and little chewy bite of the sesame seeds sprinkled on top of these otherwise very American-style cookies, but if for some bizarre reason, sesame is not your thing, you can easily leave it out. They will still be absolutely delicious. You need just 8 simple ingredients that are all mixed in one bowl to get to peanut butter cookie heaven. Trust me it's not hard, you can get there.
125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
75 g sugar
70 g soft brown sugar
125 g smooth peanut butter
160 g plain flour
10 g baking powder
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (salted is ok), finely chopped
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater (paddle attachment). Beat on medium-low until well combined and fluffy.
Add all the peanut butter and beat to combine.
Sift the flour and baking powder directly over the bowl with the butter. With the mixer on low, beat to bring together. The dough should look a bit sandy but should come together.
Form the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Cut out two sheets of baking paper in the size of your baking tray. Place dough between the two sheets and roll out to a thickness of about 5 mm. Transfer the cookie dough, as it is, covered in the baking paper on the baking sheet and place in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to cut neatly.
Preheat the oven to 170C fan.
Cut the dough into 4-5 cm squares using a sharp knife. Sprinkle with peanuts and sesame seeds. Place evenly about 4 cm apart on the lined baking tray.
Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden. Pull them out and let the cookies cool slightly on the baking tray, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.