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?
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!
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
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.