Classic Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies are soft and chewy with a melt in your mouth texture without being dry. There’s no chilling required, so you can bake these cookies right now!
One of the first homemade cookies I learned to make way back in middle school home economics class are the classic peanut butter cookies with the criss-cross hash marks made with a fork.
To be honest, I haven’t made them in a long, long time. However, not wanting to eat too many I wanted to knock Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies off of my list.
I may be biased, but this is probably one of the best peanut butter cookie recipes I’ve made in a long time.
They’re chewy on the edges while soft in the middle and have a melt in your mouth sandy texture without being dry, similar to a pecan sandie.
The cookies are super peanut buttery to the point where you need a glass of milk and have a subtle bit of crunch from rolling the dough in sugar.
My small batch peanut butter cookies aren’t small either. The dough spreads out to be just thick enough to stay soft without being crispy thin.
This recipe makes 9 cookies, which anything less than 1 dozen cookies is considered small batch in my book. The dough freezes easily too, so you don’t have to bake them all at once.
Ingredients For Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies
To bake up the perfect peanut butter cookies for two, you’ll need the following ingredients from your pantry:
- All-purpose flour: Due to the limited amount of liquid in the dough, it’s especially important to measure your flour using the spoon and level method rather than the scoop and pack method. Learn more about how to measure flour.
- Baking soda and baking powder: Using both leavening agents means the cookies will have crisp edges and a soft middle.
- Salt: It brings out the flavor of the cookie, especially since you’re using unsalted butter.
- Butter: Using unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt in such a small batch of cookies. It also helps the dough spread while baking.
- Peanut butter: This small batch peanut butter cookie recipe has been tested with your typical processed peanut butter because it has the most consistent result. Natural peanut butter can vary in results.
- Brown sugar: It’s important you use fresh, soft brown sugar. Using dry brown sugar will result in a crumbly dough (more on that below). It also reacts with the baking soda due to its acidity from the molasses.
- Granulated Sugar: Adding white sugar contributes to the cookie’s chewy texture. Plus rolling the dough in sugar before baking adds a nice subtle crunch.
- Egg yolk: Using a whole egg adds too much moisture, causing the cookies to be more cakey than chewy. Using an egg yolk not only cuts down on that, it helps bind the dough together.
- Vanilla: Much like salt, vanilla brings out the other flavors in dessert.
How To Soften Brown Sugar
Make sure your brown sugar is soft and moist, not crumbly and dry.
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s especially important because small batch peanut butter cookies have a higher fat content with the peanut butter and not much liquid with only an egg yolk.
The first time testing these, my brown sugar was on the border of crumbly and dry. Not wanting to wait, I continued to use it.
It made my dough very crumbly to scoop. Next time I made it with softened brown sugar. Problem solved.
To soften brown sugar, add a slice of bread or a marshmallow to your storage container. These items add moisture back into the sugar.
However if you need to use brown sugar right now, add your hardened sugar to a microwave-safe bowl. Place a moist paper towel on top and microwave in 20 second increments until soft again. Be careful not to accidentally melt the sugar.
That’s what I should’ve done during my first round of testing, but c’est la vie.
How To Make A Small Batch Of Peanut Butter Cookies
Homemade peanut butter cookies for two from scratch are super easy and quick to make.
First, cream together your butter, peanut butter, and both sugars.
Next, beat in your egg yolk and vanilla. Then, gradually add your dry ingredients.
The dough will be slightly sticky like most cookie doughs are. You don’t need to chill it, but if your kitchen is hot and the dough gets too warm to scoop, you can refrigerate for 15 minutes or until easy to handle.
Roll the dough in sugar then place on your cookie sheet.
Press a fork down into the dough to leave tine marks then rotate your fork to make marks going the other way in a criss-cross pattern.
The cookies may look small after pressing, but they will spread during baking.
Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Do I have to roll the peanut butter dough in sugar?
Rolling the cookie dough in sugar before baking gives it a nice touch of crunch. I personally recommend not skipping it.
However, they’ll still be super peanut buttery and delicious without it.
Do you need to chill the dough for peanut butter cookies?
Nothing ruins the mood more than wanting to eat a peanut butter cookie right now but then finding out you have to chill the dough for an hour first.
Being the impatient person I am, I wanted a small batch recipe I could bake right away.
Of course if you’re making the cookies ahead of time, you can chill the dough until ready to bake.
Why are my peanut butter cookies crumbly?
Several readers have mentioned their peanut butter dough was too crumbly.
As mentioned above, this is mainly due to your brown sugar not being soft. However, other factors can affect your dough such as not using a standard large egg yolk (or perhaps your large egg was a bit on the small side) or adding too much flour when measuring.
If your dough is too crumbly and beating it a little longer isn’t working, you can add a drop or two of milk. You don’t want to add too much as this dough isn’t meant to have milk in it.
I know you’re tempted to add the entire egg white, but your cookies will become cakey.
Can you freeze peanut butter cookies?
Peanut butter cookies from scratch also freeze really well. There are two ways you can freeze them:
- Freeze peanut butter cookies before baking: After scooping the dough but before rolling in sugar, place them on a baking sheet or a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour. Once firm, transfer the dough to a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, let the dough thaw for about 30 minutes, roll in sugar, push down with a fork, then bake as directly.
- Freeze peanut butter cookies after baking: Once the cookies have cooled completely, place them on a baking sheet or plate then freeze for 1 hour. Once firm, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let them sit out on the counter until they reach room temperature.
How To Store Small Batch Peanut Butter Cookies
Assuming you don’t eat the whole small batch in one sitting, place peanut butter cookies in an airtight container and sit out at room temperature for up to 1 week.
What To Do With Leftover Egg Whites
This small batch peanut butter cookie recipe uses 1 egg yolk, which leaves you with 1 leftover egg white.
Not sure what to make with it? Here are recipes using leftover egg whites.
More Small Batch Cookie Recipes
Love making less than a dozen cookies? Here are more small batch cookie recipes for you to bake:
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (measure by spooning and leveling rather than scooping and packing it in)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup smooth processed peanut butter (not natural)
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (make sure it's soft and moist. If it's dry and crumbly, the cookie dough will also be dry and crumbly.)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Have a large ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl on medium-low speed, beat together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula then beat in the egg yolk and vanilla.
- Turn the speed down to low. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until a dough forms.
- In a small bowl, add the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
- Using a #40 cookie scoop or by hand, portion the dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon balls. Roll each ball into the sugar to coat completely then place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Flatten each dough using a fork then rotate the fork and press down again, making a criss-cross patten.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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