A few years back I wrote a post about "one trick pony" restaurants in New York. While in general I regard these joints as gimmicky and boring—who wants to go somewhere that only serves baked potatoes?—I do hold a special place in my heart for Peanut Butter & Co. Perhaps it's because of its location, tucked away on a quiet West Village Street. Or maybe it's because I grew up in Massachusetts, where Fluff was invented, and I'm predisposed to love any restaurant that includes marshmallow cream on its menu.
In addition to their line of outrageously-flavored peanut butters, Peanut Butter & Company produces several different baking mixes. I decided to test out the Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookie Mix ($7) for this week's Mixed Review. There's just something so quintessentially American about peanut butter cookies, I thought they would make an appropriate treat for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.
The mix was a snap to prepare. All I had to add was an egg, one and a half sticks of softened butter, and four tablespoons of water. It took a little bit of elbow grease to blend everything into a cohesive lump of dough, but once it was done I couldn't help breaking off little chunks and popping them in my mouth. Salty, buttery, and slightly crumbly, the raw cookie dough was similar in taste and texture to the interior of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Who can resist that?
The package said to form the dough into 36 balls, but I only had enough for 26 (did I really eat 10 balls worth of dough?). After 12 minutes in a 375°F oven, my cookies emerged soft and puffy with golden-brown bottoms. Still warm, they were absolutely marvelous: thick, soft, and full of creamy, pure peanut butter flavor.
Once cooled, however, the cookies became quite hard--almost like peanut butter snaps. They reminded me of the cookies we used to eat during snack time in nursery school. That's not necessarily a bad thing (I always looked forward to snack time), but I think that most people prefer cookies with soft, chewy centers. If you agree, you may not want to stray from your favorite recipe. That said, the Peanut Butter & Co. cookies sturdy texture makes them perfect for dunking in a glass of milk, or better yet, sandwiching a scoop of ice cream.