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Just-baked peanut butter cookies all together on a sheet pan.

Soft and Chewy (Contest-Winning) Peanut Butter Cookies


From Jessie Sheehan’s latest book, Snackable Bakes. I made a few small changes:

  • In place of using a combination of butter and shortening, I use all butter. If you would like to use the combination of shortening and butter, use 1/4 cup (48 g) shortening and 3/4 cup (169) butter. Jessie includes shortening in her recipe because it shortens “the time between assembly and baking, as it keeps the cookies from spreading as they bake.” Without it, she notes, the dough needs a rest in the fridge, which is what I’ve done here.
  • I’ve also made the cookies smaller. Jessie uses a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter, which will give you 16 jumbo cookies. I portion the batter into 50-gram balls using my scale, and as a result I get more cookies: 23 to 24. 
  • If you want to compare these to Jessie’s original recipe further, find it here: Contest-Winning Peanut Butter Cookies

Variation from Snackable Bakes:

  • Fold in 1 cup (170 g) of milk chocolate chips into the batter along with the flour. 

Sugar Quantity

  • Often people ask if the quantity of sugar can be reduced. The answer is often yes, and if you know you prefer a less sweet cookie, I think you could make these successfully by cutting back 1/4 cup of the sugar or possibly even a little bit more. Keep in mind, the sugar lends not only a sweetness but also a softness and chewiness, too, so you don’t want to cut it back to the point where the texture becomes compromised. 


  • 1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, see notes above
  • 1.5 cups (300 g) packed light brown sugar, or slightly less, see notes above
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 cup (255 g) smooth peanut butter, such as JIF or Skippy (i.e. not all-natural)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.25 teaspoons (5 gram) kosher salt
  • 2.5 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (25 to 50 g) granulated sugar for rolling
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling, optional


  1. Place the butter in a large bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Whisk in the peanut butter. Add the baking soda, and whisk to combine.  Add the baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add the salt, and whisk to combine. Finally, fold in the flour. 
  2. At this point, the batter will be very wet and sticky. You can chill it for one hour before portioning it into smaller balls and then returning to the fridge to rest overnight. Or you can chill the batter overnight or until you are ready to portion it. If you choose to chill the batter for a longer period of time, you may need to let the batter rest at room temperature briefly to allow it to soften before portioning it. When you are ready to portion, use a 2-tablespoon scoop or a scale to portion the batter into 50-gram balls. You should get 23 to 24 portions. Note: Jessie uses a 1/4 cup measure and portions the batter into 16 jumbo balls. Ball up each portion.
  3. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll each ball in the sugar. At this point, you can chill the dough balls until you are ready to bake or you can proceed with the recipe. 
  4. Heat the oven to 375ºF. Place 8 of the sugar-coated cookie dough balls on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, if using. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until the tops are slightly puffed and crinkly and the cookies are just beginning to brown at the edges. (I find 15 minutes to be perfect.) 
  5. Remove the pan from the oven. Use a spatula to flatten each ball gently. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pan before eating or storing — I do prefer the texture and taste of these cookies when they have cooled completely. 
  6. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. 
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: peanut butter, cookies, brown sugar, soft, chewy