Baking Tips

Baking with Natural Peanut Butter? Do This Key Step First

Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference.
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Published Aug. 4, 2021.

When we’ve got a hankering for peanut butter cookies, whether soft and chewy, crispy at the edges, or even sandwiched around a filling, our go-to for baking them is a conventional creamy PB such as Skippy, since its ultrasmooth, homogeneous texture mixes so easily into the dough.

But what if you’re the kind of cook who keeps only natural peanut butter in their cabinet? Will this grainier spread, which also usually has a slick of separated oil sitting at the top, work as well? 

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The answer is yes—but only if you take this one key step: You’ve got to stir the peanut butter well just before measuring it—and you’ve got to make sure that you’ve been stirring just as thoroughly all along. Only then will you ensure that the PB going into your dough has the proper ratio of solids to fats. (If you have any doubts, it's best to spring for a new jar.)

Don’t worry that natural peanut butter isn’t usually sweetened while the conventional kind is—in our recipes we didn’t notice a difference. But do bake with a natural PB that has salt, so your cookies will be properly seasoned, heightening all the flavors of these old-fashioned favorites.

Peanut Butter IS TOO OILY

Cookies made with the loose, oily peanut butter from the top of the jar spread too much.

Peanut Butter IS TOO DRY

Cookies made with the dry, crumbly dregs were hard and stunted.

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