I have made a discovery. It is peanut flour. Maybe you already know about this richly flavored, silky smooth, gluten-free, low-fat, protein packed ingredient? I just found it recently. Actually, the Peanut Board in Georgia sent me some to play with and I went gaga over it. Then, I was perusing the isles at Trader Joe’s, as I am apt to do, and there it was in their minuscule baking section. Which means I am NOT the first to know about this.
Unlike other nut flours this one is defatted, which means they remove a portion of the fat, so the peanuts can be milled to a powder. The result is an amazingly smooth texture, with lots of healthy protein and very little fat. These cookies seemed an obvious recipe to start playing with the flour. I wasn’t expecting the flavor to be enhanced as much as I was looking for a gluten-free alternative to the classic cookie. Boy was I wrong, the flavor was more intense and the texture is smoother and more tender than my old recipe. I’d never thought to do a peanut butter cookie post before, because honestly it just didn’t excite me enough. Now I can say I am all a twitter about these cookies! The trick to their success is slightly under baking them so the center is a bit soft and the outside is crisp. I also used a chunky peanut butter for even more peanut taste and texture.
See my pastry movie recommendation at the bottom of this post.
Ultra Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free):
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter (truth be told…I used Skippy Super Chunk and I think the texture of the cookies may be reliant on the unmentionable vegetable oils in the peanut butter?)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (7-ounces) peanut flour  (I tried the light and dark with great results, but prefer the roasted peanut flavor of the dark) Trader Joe’s version also works well.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (optional)
To make the cookies:
Preheat the oven 375° with rack in the center of the oven.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment about 2 minutes on medium speed. If you are not using a Beater Blade  then scrape the sides of the bowl often. Add the peanut butter and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Add the vanilla.
In a bowl whisk together the peanut flour, which may be lumpy, baking soda and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture and mix until it is a smooth dough. Add the chocolate if you wish. (I sometimes bake half of the cookies without the chocolate and then add 2 ounces of chocolate to the rest of the dough. This satisfies the tastes of everyone in my house.)
Use a 2 to 3 tablespoon Scoop  to form the balls of dough. Or use a spoon and then roll them into balls.
Use a fork to flatten them and create a crosshatch pattern.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. They will puff up slightly and the tops will be golden, but they should still be slightly soft in the middle. Of course, if you like your peanut butter cookies crunchy throughout then bake another couple of minutes.
Dunk in milk and enjoy, either plain or
I have a movie recommendation for anyone interested in the intense world of first class professional pastry chefs in France. It is called the Kings of Pastry  and features chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School. It is an honest view of his preparation and participation in the MOF competition. Be warned it is anxiety producing, but incredibly touching.