Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peanut butter crisscrosses

peanut butter crisscrosses

At a recent Hill Country church bake sale, I was faced with a difficult decision—which dessert to try? There were pies, cakes, and cookies, and while they all looked good I was limited to just one. It was a tough choice, but a nice woman made it easier for me when she pointed to a pan filled with peach cobbler and said, “You want that one. My mother made that cobbler and it’s the best.”

And that’s the truth—your mother’s dish is always the best. There’s just something about your mother’s (and grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s) cooking that makes you happy.

Why is this? I reckon because it’s made with love.

peanut butter crisscrosses

A reader once commented on my great-grandmother’s buttermilk pie. While my great-grandmother’s recipe called for the same ingredients and method as his grandmother’s pie, he admitted he was still partial to his grandmother’s version. And that’s exactly how it should be, I said. Your mother’s (and grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s) cooking is always the best because it’s filled with good memories of the one who made it.

Now, speaking of recipes—while it’s sometimes difficult to recapture those warm feelings that comes from a dish made by our mothers, at least a recipe is a starting point to recreating some of those feelings, especially if our loved ones are no longer with us. A few years ago, my mom gave me her grandmother’s collection of handwritten recipes.

While I’m honored to have these in my possession, I’ve been scanning them into my computer so I can share these documents with the rest of the family. As I was working on this project I came across Grandma Blanche’s recipe for peanut butter crisscrosses.

This is a simple peanut butter cookie, probably the same one you grew up eating. My mom has told me how she has good memories of going to visit her grandmother and eating cookies, so I thought that making a batch of her grandmother’s cookies would make for a fine mother’s day gift.

The recipe calls for shortening, which I followed directly in one batch, but in another I substituted butter with excellent results, should you care to do the same. And while the straight peanut butter cookie is soft and rich, I couldn’t resist throwing in a handful of chocolate chips in a batch, which also makes for a delicious cookie.

peanut butter crisscrosses

Will these peanut butter crisscrosses taste as good as the ones my mom grew up eating in her grandma’s kitchen? Probably not exactly, but I reckon they will still be good because they, too, were made with love.

Peanut butter crisscrosses

1/2 cup shortening or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs and then blend in the peanut butter. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt until a smooth dough is formed. (If it’s a little sandy, that’s okay as the dough will come together when you form the cookies.)

Form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Press the balls down with a fork making a crisscross pattern. Bake one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes. These are super soft when they come out of the oven and need time to harden a bit.

About 24 cookies

Add 1 cup of chocolate chips for a peanut butter and chocolate cookie.



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NanaBread (Jeanne) said...

Nothing beats a homemade peanut butter cookie and a glass of cold milk. :)

H W said...

Would you expand on this statement "Bake for 8-10 minutes and repeat". Do you mean bake for a total of 16-20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets 180 degrees 1/2 way through?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

NanaBread--Cold milk is the perfect beverage for peanut butter cookies.

HW--I mean repeat for the rest of the dough. I'll clarify in the instructions.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

The perfect cookie! Love it!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Katrina--They are indeed!

Stacey! said...

I've found that it's surprisingly hard to find a good, solid recipe for peanut butter cookies. I'm so excited to try this! Inevitably, I'm going to end up eating half of them straight out of the oven and then telling myself in the Cookie Monster voice: "Cookies are a sometimes food!" Thank you so much for sharing!

Janus said...

I would probably add a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips AND a cup of milk chocolate chips.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Stacey--Ha! Cookie Monster definitely had the right idea.

Janus--That's an excellent idea!

Farmer Jen said...

Wonderful! I've been looking for a recipe just like this one. Thank you, and Happy Mother's Day to your Mom.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Farmer Jen--You're welcome and while I'm biased, these are darn good cookies. Enjoy!

Kim Grey said...

I have always loved peanut butter cookies. Thanks for sharing your family recipe. Have a lovely Mother's Day!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kim--You're very welcome!

Anonymous said...

From Lisa's mom--Farmer Jen, thank you for the mother's day greetings! I went out to dinner tonight in Tyler with the retired bishop of Texas and other clergy, and the conversation was, once again, about my daughter's fabulous cookbook. The bishop doesn't have one yet so he'll be getting one as a gift soon!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...


Andrea said...

Do you think I could use natural peanut butter?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Andrea--Absolutely! That's what I use.

Unknown said...

Thnx for the sweet memories, Lisa. I can remember as a girl helping my Mom by making the criss cross with the tines of the fork.

ill have to do it again, for ole time's sake.

Melanie said...

This looks like almost the exact recipe from my mom's Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from the 60's...with the red-checkered cover. :)

Haley said...

My grandmother's recipe was very similar, only she topped hers with a single Hershey's kiss - might have to make some this weekend!

Texas Junkin' Ladies said...

A wonderful recipe. What cooks will do is use their margarine instead of the shortening or butter. The margarine used today (plus diet margarine) is full of water and the texture will not be the same.

NicholeJanae said...

Thanks for the perfect Mother's Day gift idea!! My mom loves peanut butter cookies!!

meeegan said...

These (or my family's version of these) are my mother's favorite cookies too - because her mother used to make them. Whenever my mom visits, I try to have a fresh batch on hand.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Unknown--That's a wonderful memory!

Melanie--Perhaps it is!

Haley--I love it when they're topped with a Hershey's kiss. When you see that, some people call them sombreros, which is so cute!

Texas Junkin' Ladies--Interesting thought.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

NicholeJanae--You're welcome!

Meeegan--That's a sweet gesture to always have cookies for your mom. She must really appreciate that!

Shari said...

Hi Lisa, I just received your cookbook from Amazon, and I have to tell you how much I love it. I had already made the pork carnitas after having read about them from Deb @smittenkitchen, which prompted me to purchase your cookbook, -just sayin. There are so many recipes I'm going to make, and I will be filling up my freezer with chuck roast, pork shoulder roast and brisket, which works out great, since they're some of my favorite meats anyway. I'm also seriously infatuated with the chocoflan recipe. However, the photo shows a flat piece of cake, while the recipe calls for bundt, tube or round cake pans. I also noticed that some of the other baked goods don't specify what size pan to use. This kind of thing always makes me leery to try a recipe for the first time, and I was hoping you could let me know what size pans you use, so I could relax and rest assured that I'm using the right size pan. I would sure appreciate it. : )

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Shari--Thanks for writing. I'm glad you're enjoying the book! That photo is from the 9-inch square variation mentioned at the end of the recipe. Likewise, all of the baked goods say what size pan, sheet, etc. to use in the method, step 1. Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

Well it is Mother's Day - my Momma's second Mother's day in heaven! This post brought back such a sweet memory - my Mom made the best peanut butter criss crosses - and she would let me help her do the crisscross part. Thanks Lisa! From cheryl in Canyon, TX

shari said...

Lisa, thanks for your response. I checked out the variation and some of the other recipes where I thought the vital info was missing, and I feel silly for not taking the time to look closer before asking for your help. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes! I'll write again when I try some more of them. (Oh yeah, I'm going to need to stock up on an assortment of dried chili's also). We have a Large hispanic community here in Idaho, so I shouldn't have any problem finding the peppers.

Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor said...

I don't know what it is, but I'm considered a really good cook and I still make the same dishes my mom did when I was a child, but when I go home for a visit, there is something about my mom's cooking. The house with the aroma and all the memories of growing up there.

Morgan H. said...

Made these last night in my tiny, D.C. studio apartment. Woke up this morning to find the heavenly scent still lingered. I'm actually from the Texas Hill Country and love what you've created with this blog. Keep up the posts!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I could eat an entire plate of these over the course of a few hours!

Frank said...

You are absolutely right, anything cooked with love turns out great. As simple as these cookies are, I can taste them as I see the pictures. Love it.

Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits said...

One of the first things I ever cooked as a child all on my own, were peanut butter cookies. Thanks for sharing your special recipe!

Mitzi said...

Great late night snack!

alwayshungry said...

Hi Lisa!
I just made these and with a warm crumb still in my mouth I wanted to say THANK YOU!
And my boyfriend adds: "Merci beaucoup! C'Ă©tait trop bon!" ;p

Kagee said...

Just for anybody interested here are the metric measurements:

110g shortening or butter, room temperature
110g granulated sugar
100g packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
130g creamy peanut butter
250 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Made them earlier today and they turned out great. Thanks for the recipe! :)

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness do these take me right back. my mom used to make these all the time.

just got your cookbook, as a birthday present, and it's fantastic.

greetinsg from another homesick texan in belfast!

s.l. chamberlain

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