The perfect Old-Fashioned Criss-Cross Natural Peanut Butter Cookies homemade with Real Peanut Butter that are rich, dense, chewy and just a little healthier. I created this recipe specifically for all you TRUE Natural Peanut Butter Lovers out there!
The Case For Natural Peanut Butter
There are 4 main types of Peanut Butter.
1. The Ultra-Processed type like Skippy, Peter Pan and Jif, which is technically a "Peanut Butter Spread."
2. The Natural Kind in the jar with a layer of peanut oil on top.
3. The Natural kind you grind yourself in the health food section at the grocery store. Seriously rustic and very good but also can be pricey.
4. The Kind labeled "Natural" that isn't fully natural.
Many years ago I switched to true Natural Peanut Butter. INGREDIENTS: Roasted Peanuts, Salt. That's all. So next time you are buying peanut butter, take a look at the ingredients on the label.
The First Peanut Butter Was Just Ground Up Peanuts.
Natural peanut butter is a type of peanut butter that is made from 100% ground peanuts, without any added oils, sugar, or preservatives. It is generally considered to be healthier than regular peanut butter, which often contains added syrups and hydrogenated oil. The first modern commercial peanut butter was produced around 1898 by a company called Krema Products Company. The ingredients were just...Ground Up Peanuts! By the 1950's "Stabilizers" are mentioned on the labels and Peanut Butter has exploded across the country.
One of the primary benefits of Natural Peanut Butter is it being a great source of protein and the healthy fats. It also offers dietary fiber and vitamins such as vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. Natural is the healthy peanut butter.
Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes.
The Absence of Stabilizers in the Jar:
The oil separates and rises to the top because there are no other ingredients to bind it all together. Once you stir it and chill, the peanut butter will not separate again. Don't pour off the oil. Stir it in. You CAN skim off some of the oil on the top before you chill it but you don't want to get rid of all of that oil otherwise it won't be spreadable. If the oil isn't on the top when you buy it, it's probably not completely Natural.
Which Natural Peanut Butter Should I Use in this recipe?
- The oil is on the top, you stir that in and keep in the refrigerator.
- The ingredients on the label are only Peanuts and Salt.
- Must be the VERY SMOOTH TYPE for THIS RECIPE.
While one of my favorite peanut butters is Smucker's, this recipe does not work well with grainy textured peanut butter, even if it is CREAMY style. I use Dillon's or Kroger Brand but it depends on what you find in your local grocery store. Most grocery stores carry their own brand. If not, for certain you will find a smooth creamy Natural Peanut Butter in any Health Food store.
Which Shortening to Use:
When completing my final testing of this recipe, I made two batches. One with Crisco and one with Non-Hydrogenated Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening. The batches tasted and turned out EXACTLY the same. You already know how bad hydrogenated oils are so I don't need to tell you that. I did feel better about using the Spectrum, knowing it was healthier. However, the tub cost $13.50 at Natural Grocers.
Two Important Tips:
- This recipe calls for LIGHT brown sugar, if you use Dark Brown Sugar, the recipe won't turn out. Follow the recipe exactly.
- To prevent dry crispy cookies, take them out of the oven just before you think they are done-when they start to get puffy. Start watching at the 8 minute mark. Let them rest on the baking sheet, they will continue to bake and set while they cool down. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes on the sheet. Over-brown and Overbaking will make them crispy.
A Silpat Baking Mat is always nice to have when making cookies, but it's not necessary. You can put them right on a non-stick cookie sheet or parchment paper.
A Cookie scoop if you want them to look like they came off a factory line. That's how I like my Snickerdoodle Cookies! If you want the old-fashioned homemade classic look with uneven scrumptious edges, then just wing it with a Tablespoon! But I wouldn't smush the dough into balls. Watch the video below to see how it's done! 🙂
For this classic cookie, you just need a Tablespoon or a cookie scoop.
A FORK is necessary!
A Baking Sheet.
What are the ingredients?
- Unsalted Butter – Make sure your butter is fresh, I like Challenge Butter or Land O' Lakes.
- Vegetable Shortening – Crisco Baking Sticks are a staple in baking. They are very easy to measure with and then store. No cups are needed! However, if you are using Natural Peanut Butter for the Health Benefit, you can also use Spectrum® brand Organic Shortening in place of the Crisco. IT does not have any hydrogenated oil in it.
- Salt – Regular table salt or another ultra fine grain salt, as we don't want any big chunks of salt in this cookie.
- Pure Vanilla Extract – Some "Baking Vanilla" is good enough, but if you have PURE, let's go for it!
- Natural Creamy Peanut Butter – Ingredients label should read: Roasted Peanuts, Salt. Stir with your butter knife until the oil is mixed in and be sure to put this jar in the fridge after you use it.
- LIGHT Brown Sugar – Dark Brown Sugar just doesn't work here. I tried in my testing. Make sure it's moist and fresh. Brown Sugar needs to be stored AIR-TIGHT or it gets crunchy and pebbly. PACKED means that it is packed into the dry style measuring cup.
- Eggs – You need these eggs to give the cookie some weight and density.
- All-Purpose Flour – King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour is my choice. Found in MOST grocery stores in the baking section.
- Baking Powder – Baking powder gives your cookie some fluff and lightness to it. Sometimes it's hard to find, but if you see baking powder labeled "Aluminum Free"...get that one, although Rumford or Clabber Girl work perfect in this recipe. NOT BAKING SODA. Baking POWDER already has Baking SODA in it, there is no need to double up on the same ingredients. If you are using an old can from your pantry, be sure to check the date. It does go bad and starts to degrade once it is exposed to air for a long period of time.
How to keep the cookies soft or crispy:
If you want soft and chewy cookies, take them out of the oven right before they are done, let cool and put them in an airtight container or ziplock bag right away once cooled.
If you want them crispy, bake them a little longer and let them sit out on the rack to cool longer. They won't be sitting around long so you probably won't have to worry about that! 🙂
A Common Question: Why Can't you use Natural Peanut Butter in Peanut Butter Cookies?
You CAN in this recipe! Most recipes just weren't created or written with Natural Peanut Butter in mind because most households have used and consumed the popular processed peanut butter since the mid-century.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT IN THE VIDEO BELOW.
Natural Peanut Butter Cookies
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened, but not melted
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups light brown sugar packed (Do not use Dark Brown Sugar)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon regular table salt
- 1 cup creamy Natural Peanut Butter stirred
- 2 eggs beaten
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In Large bowl, with mixer on low speed, add soft butter, shortening, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add peanut butter.Mix on low until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Crack eggs into a small bowl, whisk and add them to the mixture. Continue to mix on low-medium until smooth. About one minute.
- Turn off mixer and switch to a large spoon. Fold in the flour-baking powder mixture until well-combined. Press dough into bottom of bowl and place in refrigerator. Cover with wrap and Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- IN Tablespoon size scoops, drop balls onto baking sheet two inches apart.
- With fork, press gently into the tops, once going each direction like Tic Tac Toe.
- Bake for 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on pan.