Worlds Best Recipes: No Flour, Three Ingredient , Peanut Butter Cookies

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

No Flour, Three Ingredient , Peanut Butter Cookies

Here I am sharing with you a wonderful recipe for peanut butter cookies that have only three ingredients and these oh so wonderful cookies have no flour in them at all. That's right. No flour at all and these are some of the most wonderful peanut butter cookies that you'll ever make and eat in your life.

I've made these cookies for people for years and they just love them. Most people are just amazed when you tell them that there is no flour at all in these cookies.

Once you make out your cookies you can take a fork and make the back and forth cross marks with the fork tines that have made peanut butter cookies famous. No one really knows for sure who the first person to make the marks on the cookies was but the cookies are made all that more appealing with the cross marks on them so why not do it.

Ingredients For Your Peanut Butter Cookies

1. One Cup Creamy Or Crunchy Peanut Butter.

2. One Large Egg.

3. One Cup White Granulated Sugar.

I like to make this cookie dough up and then chill it in the refrigerator for at least two hours. This makes it easy to roll the dough up in a roll like a paper towel cardboard roll. Let it chill like this wrapped in plastic wrap.

Then sprinkle powdered sugar out on a flat surface and roll your cookie dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the cookies out with a cookie cutter or a small juice glass.

Put the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in a hot pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 8 -10 minutes until the cookies are getting brown around the edges. Don't overcook your cookies. They will keep cooking for 5-7 minutes on the cookie sheet once you set them out of the oven.

I have sometimes included a couple of tablespoons of salted crushed peanuts in the cookie dough. Try it and see what you think.

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Peanut Butter

The Woodrow Wilson White House Peanut Butter Cookies

The earliest use of the term “peanut butter” in a cookie recipe was found in the Newark Sunday Call of Newark, New Jersey on September 19, 1913. The recipe was titled “Prune Peanut Butter Cookies”. This recipe called for brown sugar instead of white sugar, and a large quantity of fat ½ cup shortening and ¾ cup peanut butter to a ratio of 2 cups flour. Although it used prunes in the recipe it is interesting to note this was the forerunner of the modern Peanut Butter Cookie. It used a high ratio of shortening and peanut butter combined, and brown sugar. Some modern Peanut Butter Cookie recipes still use the same ratio of shortening to peanut butter.

Wikipedia’s Peanut Butter entry stated, “The United States and China are leading exporters of peanut butter.” This is reflected in the 1916 Anglo-Chinese Cookbook compiled and edited by Mrs. R. Calder-Marshall & Mrs. P. L. Bryant, two American named ladies and published in Shanghai, China. The ladies included recipe “57. Peanut-Butter Cookies” which makes it the earliest pure peanut butter cookie recipe with the name. This was a popular cook book as it was printed in the English language and Chinese language. The Peanut Butter Cookies were listed under “American Cookies”.

In 1918, three war time Peanut Butter Cookies recipes were published. The Farm Journal published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had an article “Patriotic Women Will Use these New Recipes” (Vo. 42, No. 7, July 1918, p 26). “Peanut Butter Cookies (sugarless), require six tablespoons of fat, one fourth cupful [4 tablespoons] peanut butter, …” In this recipe there is more fat than peanut butter. The recipe came from a farm journal, farms had access to butter and lard that the general public did not have, hence the increase instead of decrease in fat as is seen in the other war time recipes. It brought the concept of a higher ratio of shortening / peanut butter seen in an earlier recipe to more readers. The other two war time recipes utilized peanut butter much more heavily for the shortening. Peanut butter apparently was more readily available than other shortenings during the World War I.

The quantity of shortening to peanut butter was not the only issue being worked out. How to shape the cookie was also of importance. In the August 27, 1917 Reading Eagle a lady contributed three different peanut butter cookie recipes. “Peanut Butter Cookies – make a soft dough and pat rather than roll out.” “Peanut Butter Drop Cookies – Drop in small spoonfuls on greased baking sheet”. “Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – shape into balls”. In the July 25, 1917 Robinson Constitution it read, “This Recipe Sounds Good” “Peanut Butter Cookies – Chill, roll thin, shape” The Newburgh Daily dated April 22, 1918 had “Peanut Butter Cookies – Shape the cookies with a small cutter”. Five recipes each with a different way to handle and shape the cookies. The “drop” and “ball” versions are thick lumps of raw cookie dough. Neither of the recipes said to flatten the lumps, whereas the other recipes called to flatten the dough by rolling or patting.

Post World War I changes were occurring in the Peanut Butter Cookie. In the Schenectady [NY] Gazette – July 1, 1932 there was a recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies. The recipe said to “make balls … press each one down with a fork, first one way and then the other, so they look like squares on waffles.” It listed one cup shortening and one cup peanut butter, and called for half brown sugar and half white granulated sugar. In this recipe there are equal quantities of shortening and peanut butter. This made for a better textured cookie. It also used equal quantities of brown sugar and white sugar. In most early recipes white granulated sugar was used with some exceptions one recipe used brown sugar and a few war time recipes used molasses. Someone figured out the taste of molasses in brown sugar combined with white sugar made a pleasing flavor combination. The other change was the “fork” used to flatten the cookie. It left an imprinted pattern on the cookie. Where and when did the use of the fork start occurring?

Back in the year 1916 a recipe called “Spiced Oat Cookies” in the Handy Household Hints and Recipes (Louisville, KY) were flattened with a fork. “Drop in small quantities, from the tip of a spoon, on a greased cooky pan. With a fork flatten each cooky slightly.” Two years later in 1918 Wheatless and Meatless Menus and Recipes (Boston, MA) is a recipe for “Oatmeal Crisps”. “With a fork dipped in cold water flatten out into circular shape no thicker than a piece of rolled oats.” The fork allowed the cook to flatten the cookie wafer thin. Ironically, the Oatmeal Crisps were on the same page (16) as “Peanut Butter Cookies” which read “Chill, roll thin, cut in fancy shapes”. The Battle Creek Cook Book: a collection of well tested recipes from the First Congregational Church (Battle Creek, Michigan) listed a recipe for “Brown Sugar Cookies” which said to “pinch off dough the size of a walnut and roll in the hands [a ball]. Put in the pan and flatten with a broad fork.”

Where Those Criss Cross Fork Marks Came From

Another cookbook The Bakers Business Booster (1922, Boston, MA) had a recipe for “Mailander Cookies” which read, “after being washed over with [egg] yolks, and marked with the ends of a fork crosswise.” Washing the cookie with egg yolk gave it a nicer finish. Pressing it with the tips of a fork crosswise formed a directional pattern. The two extra steps made a plain cookie look fancy. This is in line with “cut in fancy shapes” as the Peanut Butter Cookies recipe called for. The 1947 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book had a descriptive illustration on page 714 with the following explanation, “Arrange by spoonfuls on buttered cooky sheet, press flat with floured spoon, and mark with floured fork.” The marks were a single set of parallel lines.This shows the fork was sometimes used to make decorative marks on cookies. This pattern is different from the “waffle pattern” in the 1932 recipe published in the Schenectady, New York newspaper. The New York recipe is the earliest known version to use the waffle pattern which is known today as the “criss-cross” pattern.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Peanut Butter Cookies, the 1933 edition of the Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes instructed cooks to use a fork to press the cookie flat. The use of a fork to flatten the Peanut Butter Cookie was likely popularized through Pillisbury’s cook book. But the entry does not state which pattern was used 1) parallel lines or 2) criss-cross. The 1938 edition of The Settlement Cook Book used the name, “Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies” (page 480) forever associating the criss-cross pattern with the Peanut Butter Cookie. The Settlement Cook Book went through many editions and was as popular in the Mid-West as the Boston Cooking School Cook Book was in the northeast.

The fork was originally used to flatten a cookie very thin in lieu of rolling the dough. In time, the fork’s purpose changed. Cookies were often served at ladies functions where presentation was as important as taste. The imprint that the fork left on the cookie made a desirable decorative pattern. Sometime in the 1930’s the criss-cross pattern became the hallmark of the Peanut Butter Cookie.

The changes that came about in the 1930’s perfected the Peanut Butter cookie. But not every cook book author followed suit immediately. The Boston Cooking School Cook Book’s 1936 edition listed “Peanut Butter Cookies” under “Sugar Cookies”. The cook book used a simple way of converting a basic sugar cookie recipe into numerous different types of cookies. It said to substitute peanut butter for the butter. The modern “Peanut Butter Cookies” recipe appears eleven years later in the 1947 edition as a distinct cookie complete with an illustration on how to decorate it with a fork. Today (2011) Peanut Butter Cookies are still made the same way: half white granulated sugar and half brown sugar, equal quantities of shortening and peanut butter and pressed with fork to form a criss-cross pattern.

“Special Peanut Cookies” from Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book by Mrs. G. W. Parrins, Lyons, NY (1915)

3 tablespoons Larkin Peanut Butter

1 tablespoon lard

1½ cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons thick sour milk

1 teaspoon Larkin Vanilla Extract

Mix, roll, cut and bake

“Peanut Butter Cookies” (1930’s up to present [2011])

½ cup butter (softened) or shortening

½ cup white sugar (granulated)

½ cup brown sugar

1 egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup peanut butter, any style

1¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream together: butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla; mix in peanut butter. Sift dry ingredients and mix into creamed mixture Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on to ungreased cookie sheet Press with fork to make criss-cross pattern Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes Makes about 3 dozen

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