peanut butter cookie question
Now, some recipes don't call for salt any salt at all, and others call for 1/4 tsp or so.
None of them specify whether to use salted or unsalted PB (since I'd just use a jar of unsweetened natural anyway).
Some also call for baking soda, while others don't.
Which combination would be best?
I can't really tell you what combo would be "best"--that's kind of subjective. For me, personally, if there wasn't any salt listed and you're using PB with no salt, I'd throw a 1/4 t. in there just as a flavor enhancer. As to the soda, again, it depends: is there any other leavening agent? The recipe I use (an old one of my Mom's), produces a somewhat chewy cookie and contains 1/2 t. salt and 1t. baking soda dissolved in 1 T. of hot water. That's the only leavening. If I left it out, I'd have lovely peanut butter poker chips. ;) I should add that I use standard, supermarket PB which already contains salt and these don't wind up tasting salty.
Unless specified, I would NOT use the natural PB for the cookies. Most recipes are made around the "un" natural PB and account for the sugar etc that is found in the processed PB. If making PB cookies, I usually have to buy it specially for the cookies since I eat the natural stuff otherwise.
Here is the finest recipe for peanut butter cookies in the world. It's from Gourmet in 2000:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix everything and bake in a 350 degree for about 10 minutes (my oven takes longer). The recipe suggests adding 1/2 teaspoon salt but even though I love salty foods, I don't add any. On the other hand, I do throw in a bit of coffee liqueur; it deepens the flavor.
The recipe also says that regular peanut butter works best with these; organic p.b. will taste good but crumble more.
What I love about these cookies is that there isn't any flour to detract from the peanut butter flavor. And if I had not just discovered that the jar of peanut butter in my pantry was from the salmonella-laden batch (no wonder I had stomach flu at the beginning of the year!) and thrown it away, I might make some right now.
re: Laura D.
The texture is perfect: soft on the inside with enough structure outside to prevent them from flopping and falling apart.
As to how long they last, no one knows because they are gone within 24 hours (12 at my house). My sister has been baking cookies for decades and said she's never seen her family go through cookies as quickly as they did these. She also admitted helping to eat them.