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Peanut Butter Cookie, Simple and Classic

Peanut Butter Cookie, Simple and Classic

2024-06-03

The peanut butter cookie, a seemingly simple treat, boasts a rich history intertwined with the rise of peanut butter itself. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1910s in the United States. The credit for the first peanut cookie recipe is often given to George Washington Carver.  He published a cookbook titled "How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption" which included recipes featuring peanuts, though these early versions likely used chopped or ground peanuts instead of peanut butter. It was not until the early 1930s that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient in the cookies.



Unlike their modern counterparts, early peanut butter cookies lacked the signature fork marks. Back then, bakers either rolled the dough thin and cut out shapes, or simply dropped it by spoonfuls, creating round balls. The iconic criss-cross pattern found its way into recipes much later. The first documented use appeared in a Schenectady Gazette recipe on July 1, 1932. It instructed for balls to be "pressed each one down with a fork, first one way and then the other."

While the exact reason wasn't mentioned, the rise of the fork method likely coincided with the growing popularity of peanut butter cookies in the 1930s. This trend is further evidenced by Pillsbury's inclusion of the technique in their 1933 "Balanced Recipes" cookbook. It's important to note that using a fork isn't strictly necessary. Dense peanut butter dough benefits from flattening, and a cookie spatula can achieve the same result.

 

 

Classic Components:

 

At its core, the peanut butter cookie is a straightforward recipe. The key players include:

 

Peanut Butter: The show's star, peanut butter can be creamy or chunky, depending on the desired texture.

Flour: All-purpose flour provides the structure for the cookie.

Sugars: A combination of granulated and brown sugar creates sweetness and depth of flavor.

Fats: Butter adds richness and helps create that melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Leavening Agents: Baking soda and sometimes baking powder give the cookies lift.

Eggs: Eggs bind the ingredients and contribute to the overall texture.



Industrial Production:


While homemade peanut butter cookies evoke a sense of nostalgia, mass production follows a similar principle, albeit on a larger scale. Here's a glimpse into the factory process:

 

Mixing: Giant vats combine peanut butter, sugar, butter, and other dry ingredients.

Shaping: The batter is fed into a cookie-forming machine that shapes it into uniform raw cookies.

Baking: The raw cookies travel along a conveyor band through massive ovens for consistent baking.

Cooling: Once baked, the cookies are cooled on conveyor belts before packaging.

The industrial process allows for precise measurements, consistent shapes, and faster production times.



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