Test the Recipe: Grandma Lil’s Peanut Butter Cookies
Posted by Meg
“Test the Recipe” is a recurring column on PCFG where we test vintage (anything published before 1990) recipes and see if they stand the test of time or need updating. In this post we test the recipe as exactly as possible for the most accurate outcomes. Those recipes that need updating will be featured later in a “We Can Do It Better” post.
I’m mixing things up a little bit with this Test the Recipe post because I didn’t find it in a book; I found it in my grandma’s recipe box. As such, I don’t know the actual date on it, but considering the recipe is my great-grandmother’s I think it’s fairly safe to assume that the recipe falls within the time frame I established. I think a lot of the Christmas cookies my mom makes use my great-grandma’s recipes, but she doesn’t usually make peanut butter cookies, so I wanted to give these a try. I really enjoy peanut butter, and cookies are great, so I was excited to have some peanut butter cookies to eat. I’m sure my great-grandma didn’t come up with the recipe totally from scratch, but I don’t know where she may have gotten the original recipe from either.
First I gathered all my ingredients. I already had everything on hand since it was mostly all pantry/fridge staples. That’s always a plus for a recipe for me.
The directions were pretty simple and easy to follow. I didn’t take a ton of step by step pictures since it was mostly standard cooking-making procedure.
I did have a strange problem of the dough continually climbing the beaters. I’ve never had a problem with cookie dough doing that before. I’m not sure if it was the dough itself that was the problem or just that there was so much of it. I was still able to properly mix everything together though, so it wasn’t too big of a deal, just annoying.
Once the dough was together it was time to divide them up into balls.
Then smush them with a fork.
When it came time to put the cookies in the oven, I realized that the recipe did not have a baking time on it. So I had to take a guess. I eventually ended up figuring out the baking time was around 10-12 minutes.
I ran into a little trouble when it was time to form the cookies because I wasn’t really sure how big to make the dough balls. “Medium sized” is kind of subjective. I realized when I pushed them down with the fork that I’d made my first batch too big, so subsequent batches had smaller cookies. I ended up making the dough balls about an inch big.
This makes a lot of cookies. I ended up with a little less than 5 dozen cookies. I probably would have had an even 5 dozen if I hadn’t made the first batch too large. Be prepared to roll dough balls for awhile. I was tired of the process after about 3 cookies sheets’ worth and I still had a ton of dough left.
The cookies stuck to the fork sometimes while I was making the trademark crosshatch pattern. I’m not sure if I was just pressing too hard or not, but if you encounter the same problem, spraying the fork with non-stick spray will probably help.
So how’d they turn out? Pretty good! I hadn’t had peanut butter cookies in a long time so I actually wasn’t 100 percent sure how they were supposed to turn out, but my mom assured me they were correct. Personally I think they need more peanut butter flavor (and Erik agrees). I also think there’s too much cinnamon. They were also crunchier than I was expecting them to be. They’re still yummy cookies though, and depending on your cookie preference you may enjoy them as they are now.
There are definitely some changes that could be made. I’m not sure if I’ll do this as a WCDIB post, but I’ll definitely at least type up the recipe to be more user-friendly (like, include baking time) and make some tweaks and post as a Quick Recipe if nothing else. Hopefully my great-grandma will be honored to be getting a modern update and not offended.