Thai Peanut Butter Cookies

I love peanut butter. Growing up, my favorite candies were Reese's peanut butter cups, and once or twice a year when I could convince my mom, we would buy a bag of the miniature cups and gleefully stuff them into peanut butter cookies straight from the oven. We never made the more traditional Hershey's kiss blossoms: why eat a Hershey's Kiss when you could have a Reese's? 

SO. GOOD.

SO. GOOD.

As I've gotten a little older, however, my cravings for peanut butter cookies have become less frequent, mainly because I find the peanut and sugar bombs that I devoured as a child a little one-dimensional now. (1990's Angela would mock me, I'm sure.)

Which is not to say that I don't still love peanut butter. I do. I use it probably more often than I ever did, not only as a snack food with fruit or in cookies, but also in savory contexts: stir-fries and salad dressings and soups. And so when I got a craving for peanut butter cookies a few weeks ago, and was thinking of which recipe I wanted to make, I had a revelation:

What if I put ginger in my peanut butter cookies?

Peanuts and ginger go together all the time in Asian and particularly Thai food, but I had never really encountered them in a dessert before. Time to fix that.


The recipe below is adapted from Food52's classic Peanut Butter Cookies recipe. I added more peanut butter, as well as a hit of both freshly grated and dried ground ginger, and a touch of lime zest to round everything out and boost the Thai flavor profile. I went through three versions of these cookies before I arrived at these--I hope you like them as much as I do!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp lime zest (from about half a lime)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream together the butter and peanut butter (the easiest way to do this is with a stand mixer or hand mixer; if you don't have either of those, I suggest melting the butter rather than trying to mix it by hand**). Beat in the two sugars until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla, fresh ginger and lime zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl once to make sure they're evenly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the salt, dried ginger, baking soda and flour, then add to the peanut butter mixture and beat just until combined.
  5. Arrange heaping teaspoonfuls of the soft dough directly on parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Use the back of a fork to gently flatten each cookie and make a crosshatch pattern.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and just firm around the edges. Let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. These will keep in an airtight container for several days, but they are best while fresh!

*I used sweetened, but if you try unsweetened, let me know!

**If you do use the melted butter method, go ahead and brown it, then whisk in an ice cube to replace the water you lost during the browning (Thanks Kenji!). I made the cookies this way for my 2nd batch (pictured above) and they turned out super soft, which a lot of people liked, but wasn't quite the texture I was going for.