Amish Peanut Butter Cookies

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Note from Editor Kevin:  Peanut butter cookies are a staple in the dessert repertoire of most Amish cooks. Recipes are slightly different from cook to cook and community to community. The Amish Cook herself has a superb peanut butter cookie recipe, but I wanted to share one that comes to us from the relatively new community of Utica, Minnesota in the far southeast part of the state.  This is a beautiful area of rolling hills and bauxite mines along the the banks of the Mississippi River.  Rachel took a crack at this cookie recipe, so I’ll turn it over to her.

By Rachel Diver Williams

Because Lovina had a much deserved week off, I have decided to do a step-by-step recipe from our newest book, Amish Cooks Across America: Recipes and Traditions from Maine to Montana, which can be pre-ordered here.  We are eagerly awaiting the official release date of May 28th, but were excited to learn today that we should receive some advance copies next week!!!  I can’t wait to see the actual finished book.

Before I met Kevin, my knowledge of the Amish was limited to reading the book Roseanna of the Amish, by Joseph W. Yoder, in a college Anthropology class.  Through the years I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel with Kevin to many, many Amish communities across the country and in Canada.  There is much diversity of custom, dress and food from one place to another, but one constant is the kind, friendly demeanor of nearly everyone we met-and, of course, the delicious food!  While Kevin was writing and I was photographing for ACAA (short for Amish Cooks Across America) we really learned much about just how different the Amish settlements can be, and memories from the trips we took will be with me forever.  My favorite meal during our travels was perhaps the simplest one.  At the home of Elizabeth Stoll, in Maine, we enjoyed a late-summer lunch of cheese and homegrown tomato sandwiches on homemade bread.  They were served alongside fresh-picked corn, cut off the ear and buttered, and skillet-fried potatoes, with blueberry cake and blueberry lemon muffins for dessert.  The meal was perfect for its simplicity and local flavor.
It is a rainy day here in southwest Ohio, ahead of what will likely be our biggest snowstorm of the season.  In March!  Sounds to me like the perfect kind of day for peanut butter cookies.  This is a recipe from Utica, Minnesota, that appears in ACAA, hope you enjoy it!

1 cup  lard
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1 /2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1 /2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the lard, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and flour, stirring until well-combined.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll the balls in white sugar.  Place the balls on cookie sheets, flattening slightly.  Bake until the cookies are browned at the edges, about 10-12 minutes.  Yield:  approx 4 dozen.
Growing up, my mom usually made either oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies or blonde brownies, so I don’t have a whole lot of peanut butter cookie-making experience, but wow is this a good recipe!  They are AH-MAZING!  The perfect blend of crunch and chewiness.  They were also quite simple to make.
Kevin passed along a hint he learned from Lovina, which is probably pretty standard for a lot of you that are seasoned bakers, and that is to collect all of your ingredients from the pantry, fridge, etc, and make sure you have everything before you start your recipe.  Common sense, I know, but it can save you from having your husband, or yourself, make a frantic run to the grocery right in the middle of things!  So that was my first step, confirming I had everything I needed.  I substituted butter for the lard, and I cheated a bit and used an electric mixer to cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together.   I cut the sticks of butter into about one inch pieces before putting it in the mixing bowl.  It also helps to start with room temperature butter.  I then added the eggs, which I first broke into a separate bowl.  Even if you are great at cracking them open and never end up with bits of shell, this is a good idea on the rare instance that you get a bad egg.  Yuck, you don’t want to have to completely start your recipe over, so cracking the eggs in a separate bowl can prevent that.  I know from experience : )  After the eggs I added the peanut butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla and flour to my mixing bowl, and turned the mixer on low until the flour was incorporated into the mix, then turned it up so I didn’t have flour flying out of the bowl.  The dough is thick, almost a play-dough like consistency.   I then put about 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl, and began rolling the dough into one inch balls and then coating them with sugar.  I placed them on a cookie sheet, and you can either just use your hand to flatten them a bit, or use the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern for the classic peanut butter cookie look.  10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven and they are ready!  Delicious.  Nothing beats warm peanut butter cookies fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk.  The perfect snow day snack.

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The Discussion

  1. Rachel, you did a fantastic job with the post and the cookies. While I always look forward to the columns with Lovina, this was so enjoyable. Keep it up and thanks for a great recipe. It is snowing here today and tomorrow, so maybe I will make these, too.

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  2. I just made some peanut butter cookies on Monday. The difference between your recipe and mine is:
    I use a cup and a half of brown sugar and a half cup of white sugar, I also use butter, but I use a natural crunchy peanut butter and use a mixture of sea salt and brown sugar to roll them in before baking. Really yummy.

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    • Rachel Diver Williams says:

      Hi Gert,
      Rolling the cookies in sea salt and brown sugar sounds good, I’ll have to try that next time!

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  3. I have Lovina’s peanut butter cookie recipe. It is definately a favorite with my children and grandchildren. It has the texture of a shortbread cookie. I must try this new recipe also. It looks yummy. Thank You , Rachel

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  4. Pam Cloud says:

    Thanks Rachel for the lovely write up! Much appreciated. Gonna give these a try as they are like our old time homemade ones I grew up with. Keep up the good job enjoyed it very much.

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  5. dynnamae says:

    Hi Rachel. Your cookies looked beautiful. When I started reading the recipe, yuck, came to mind at the lard. I know I would be able to taste that in those cookies. I saw you substituted and I would too. Sorry you got alot of snow, but so thankful it missed us in northern MI. Have a blessed weekend.

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  6. Great looking cookies Rachel….thanks for the recipe, I do want to try these, but I too will use butter…..I hope mine looks as good as yours :) You did a great job….hope you’re doing well…….keep up the good work.

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