Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
3 Tbl. milk
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peanut butter, shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until well blended. Add egg, beat just until blended. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, and remove to foil to cool completely.

Variations: These are the cookies I use for Peanut Blossoms and Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints. Add an additional 1/4 c. flour to original recipe, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. For Peanut Butter Blossoms, immediately press an unwrapped Hershey's kiss upon removal from the oven. For Thumbprints, remove from oven and make indentations in the center with the handle of a wooden spoon. Heat 1/2 c. raspberry jam in a small saucepan, stirring until "loose," about 30 seconds. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. into each indentation.

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