Nancy Silverton is known for her world famous bread, her revolutionary pizza dough and her California spin on Italian dishes at her three Los Angeles restaurants. In her latest New York Times Best Selling Cookbook, The Cookie That Changed My Life, Nancy explores baking traditional recipes with an elevated spin that only she can do.
Nancy Silverton's Peanut Butter Cookie
Why it's on our list
In the words of Whitney "I don't even like peanut butter cookies. It was fabulous!"
We had the honor of not only interviewing Nancy Silverton and her sister Gail on Episode 48, but also getting to attend a Q&A for Nancy's cookbook, The Cookie That Changed My Life. At this event, we got to taste first hand THE COOKIE, a peanut butter cookie that inspired Nancy to create her 11th cookbook. Now a New York Times bestseller. Which Courtney would like to take credit for, given how many she has bought for friends and family.
We are so grateful that Nancy has shared this recipe with us!
From Nancy Silverton:
I am happy to announce that the perfect peanut butter cookie has indeed been invented, but I also must admit that I am not the one who invented it. If you read the introduction, then you already know that these cookies— the base of which comes to you courtesy of Roxana Jullapat, a talented baker who owns the Los Angeles bakery-cafe Friends & Family—inspired this cookbook. After tasting Roxana’s cookie and falling in love with it, I decided to make them, using a recipe from her cookbook, Mother Grains. I don’t know if it was the addition of sorghum ﬂour (which Roxana says makes the cookies chewier), or the fact that they’re perfectly underbaked, but they were absolute peanut butter cookie perfection. They have a pretty crackle top and perfectly rounded edges, all hallmarks of success for this type of cookie. Most important, they really taste like peanut butter. I put a spoonful of peanut butter in the center and nestled a pile of salty, roasted Spanish peanuts on top to make them as peanutty as a peanut butter cookie can be. I also make mine smaller than Roxana’s.
Use a supermarket variety of peanut butter, not health food or artisanal peanut butter; I use Skippy creamy peanut butter. These are best the day they’re made and still delicious the next day; I don’t recommend keeping them any longer than that.
For the Toasted Peanuts
375 grams (3 cups) skin-on Spanish peanuts
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral-ﬂavored oil, such as safflower)
1½ tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
For the Dough
2 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons pure vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
140 grams (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose ﬂour
130 grams (1 cup) sorghum ﬂour
170 grams (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
270 grams (1 cup) creamy peanut butter
180 grams (about ¾ cup plus 2½ tablespoons) granulated sugar
110 grams (½ cup plus 2 teaspoons packed) dark brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
270 grams (1 cup) peanut butter (preferably creamy)
2 tablespoons ﬂaky sea salt
To toast the peanuts, adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the peanuts on a large baking sheet, drizzle them with the oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to coat them. Spread the peanuts out in an even layer and toast them on the center rack of the oven until they are dark mahogany in color, 18 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and rotating the pan front to back halfway through the toasting time so the peanuts brown evenly. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool the nuts to room temperature. (If you think they are on the verge of being overtoasted, transfer them to a plate so they don’t continue to cook from the residual heat of the pan.)
Turn off the oven.
To make the dough, whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl. Combine the all- purpose and sorghum ﬂours in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
Put the butter in a stand mixer ﬁtted with the paddle and beat at medium speed until the butter is softened but still cold, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula whenever butter is accumulating. Add the peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and ﬂuffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the baking soda, salt, and baking powder and beat on medium speed for about 15 seconds to incorporate the additions. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the egg/vanilla mixture, mixing until the egg is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the combined ﬂours and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds until no ﬂour is visible. Stop the mixer, remove the paddle and bowl, and clean them with the spatula, scraping from the bottom up to release any ingredients from the bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is chilled and ﬁrm, at least 30 minutes.
Adjust the oven racks so one is in the top third and the other is in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
To ﬁnish the cookies, pour the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap and reserve it. Scoop the dough into 21-gram (1½-tablespoon) portions and roll each portion into a ball. Roll the balls in the sugar to coat them and place 12 cookies on each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1½ inches between them. (Re-cover the remaining dough and return it to the refrigerator.)
Press your thumb in the center of each ball of dough and turn your thumb to expand the divot slightly and make it round. Spoon 1 teaspoon of peanut butter into each divot and sprinkle a generous pinch of ﬂaky sea salt on top.
Place one baking sheet on each oven rack and bake the cookies for 4 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and pile a mound of peanuts (about 20) in the center of each cookie. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching racks and rotating the sheets front to back, and bake the cookies until they are golden brown, have puffed up, and are just beginning to collapse, 4 to 5 minutes. (You want the cookies to be slightly underdone, so they will feel soft to the touch. They will ﬁrm up when they cool.) Remove the cookies from the oven.
If any of the cookies have become misshapen during baking, gently cup your hands around the edges to reshape them. If the cookies spread so much that there are gaps between the peanuts, add a few of the remaining peanuts to each cookie so you have a pretty, abundant nut cluster on each cookie. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet.
Bake the remaining cookies in the same way.
From The Cookie That Changed My Life by Nancy Silverton with Carolynn Carreño © 2023 by Nancy Silverton. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Serve it up!
Report back when you make this fabulous peanut butter cookie from Nancy Silverton!