I got the idea for these cookies from the Rogue Bakery, a homemade, home-delivered cookie bakery in Columbus and Cleveland. I actually have not tried their spicy peanut butter cookies, but when I heard the owner/baker say ancho and peanut butter in the same tweet, I was instantly intrigued. (For what it’s worth, I have tried other cookies they make and they are delicious.)
This is a match made in heaven. My version are not spicy, are not even that strong of an ancho flavor, but the ancho somehow brought out the peanut buttery goodness in the cookies and made them even more peanut buttery (although if you are wondering, I’d love to try a truly spicy version too, with chipotle). I was exclaiming over my new discovery when my sister pointed out that she had recently featured a spicy peanut butter cookie and I somehow missed it–bad sister! bad Laura! much self flogging…but anyway hers use a spicy peanut butter and so are a bit different (and are next on my to try list because ohmigosh they look amazing).
The texture of these cookies are a bit different for me. They are not super chewy (indeed next time I might bake one less minute) but they are not crunchy or crispy either. Matheson refers to them as “airy” and while I would not call them airy, I might call them airy for peanut butter cookies, if you see what I mean by the difference. For me, personally, the sugar and salt on top were absolutely necessary.
Salty Ancho Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Salty Sweets, Christie Matheson
1 T AP flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t fine sea salt
1 t ground ancho chile pepper
1 cup regular (not natural) peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 T finely chopped salted peanuts
coarse turbinado sugar and coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Whisk together the flour, sea salt, baking soda, and ancho. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream the peanut butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture and mix in until well combined. Add the beaten egg and mix until incorporated. Stir in the peanuts.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet–I got 12 cookies per sheet for a total of 24 cookies. Flatten the balls slightly with a fork (but know that the tine marks will disappear). Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the coarse sugar and salt.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until set and slightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooking rack.