A Peanut Butter Cookie with Finesse

Peanut butter cookies dotted with dried cherries and cocktail peanuts.
Peanut butter cookies dotted with dried cherries and cocktail peanuts.

Peanut butter and bananas — of course!

Peanut butter and jelly — you bet.

But peanut butter and dried cherries?

I admit the combo gave me the briefest pause when I first considered this particular cookie recipe.

I had been on the hunt to find a recipe to use up a big handful of dried cherries I had around. I didn’t want the usual oatmeal-cherry cookie. Or the standard chocolate chip-cherry one. Or even the typical cherry shortbread.

Been there, baked those already.

Martha Stewart’s “Peanut Butter Cookies with Dried Cherries” offered a peanut butter cookie not only studded with dried cherries, but also salted cocktail peanuts.

It also offered up a pleasant contrast to the usual heavy and indulgent peanut butter cookie archetype. As my neighbor murmured between contented bites when I shared some with her, these are “less in your face.”

Indeed, they are less rich tasting, but no less satisfying. The peanut butter taste is there, but dialed down just enough to let the sweet-tangy dried cherries also hold their own. The chopped peanuts add a nice crunch in contrast to the chewiness of the dried fruit.

Less excessive tasting to let the sweet-tart taste of the dried cherries come through.
Less excessive tasting to let the sweet-tart taste of the dried cherries come through.

Made with plenty of butter and light brown sugar, these cookies bake up with a crispy yet tender texture that will turn softer the next day after storing. The recipe originally stated that it makes 5 dozen cookies, but I ended up with about 40 cookies total, so I changed that below.

Should you crave a more “in your face” version, simply spread some peanut butter lavishly on the bottom of one cookie, then press another one on top for a fun, fruity version of a Nutter Butter.

A delightful cookie to enjoy.
A delightful cookie to enjoy.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Dried Cherries

(Makes about 40 cookies)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup natural smooth peanut butter, such as Smucker’s All Natural

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup salted cocktail peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add peanut butter and both sugars; beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat just until combined.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add cherries; toss to coat. Add flour mixture to peanut-butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in peanuts.

Scoop heaping-tablespoon balls onto baking sheets, 3 inches apart; flatten each slightly. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until just set, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Note: Since this recipe yields a lot of cookies, you can portion out half the dough into balls and freeze them on baking sheets until solid, then transfer them to resealable plastic bags to store in the freezer until you’re ready to bake more.

From Martha Stewart

More Delicious Recipes with Peanut Butter: Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

And: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Peanut Butter Barbecue Sauce

And: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples

And: Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks

And: Triple Play Peanut Butter Cookies

And: Peanut Butter Dream “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

And: Roasted Peanut Butter Cream Pie

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