In high school I was known for being the girl who was nice to everyone. Not a bad thing to be known for but that doesn’t necessarily make a girl particularly popular. Most people knew who I was and which activities I was involved in. I had a solid couple of groups of friends but I certainly wasn’t getting invited to any big parties on the weekends. In fact, the one time did attend a party with the popular kids, I found the scene to be boring and didn’t understand what the draw was. The get-togethers that stand out in my mind are actually almost juvenile. One of my friends would invite a few of us over at Easter and Valentine’s Day for cookie decorating. Her mom was the one who actually wanted her to host these decorating parties, my friend might have even been embarrassed to have us over for cookies and hot chocolate. I hope she looks back at it as fondly as I do though. I remember there being tons of cookies, tons of frosting, tons of sprinkles, and tons of laughter. There was no pressure to impress boys or to do something that might get us into trouble. It was just pure fun. I’m hoping my daughter will want to host similar parties as she grows up.
As I’ve gotten older, I still occasionally spend days decorating cookies but I’ve expanded beyond sugar cookies. Over the past few years I’ve favored gingerbread but February doesn’t exactly feel like gingerbread season. The cooler temperatures still have me thinking deep flavors – I’m just not quite ready for light floral/spring flavors. With Valentine’s Day coming up I still wanted to incorporate chocolate without making it the main event. What could pair better with chocolate than peanut butter?! So, I’ve created peanut butter cut-out cookies. The flavor is traditional but they are just as fun to decorate as a sugar cookie.
- While you don’t have to refrigerate this dough before rolling and cutting it, you can if you want to. Feel free to make the dough a day ahead, wrap it in plastic wrap and then chill in the fridge. Just be sure to pull it out and get it back to room temperature before rolling it.
- I know it can be tempting to dunk the entire cookie in chocolate but try to show some restraint. Honestly, if you cover more than about half of the cookie, the chocolate will overwhelm the peanut butter flavor.
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups creamy style peanut butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 oz dark chocolate melting wafers
- variety of sprinkles for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat peanut butter, butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Once flour is fully incorporated, place 1/3 of the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll to ¼” thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and cut dough with cookie cutters. Bake on a parchment lined sheet pan for 11-13 minutes or until edges start to brown. Cool cookies completely before decorating. Melt chocolate wafers according to package. Dip cookies in chocolate then add sprinkles as desired. Alternatively, drizzle chocolate over cookies.