Peanut Butter Blossoms, Unblossomed

Peanut butter blossoms.

Photo via Flickr member Dan4th

Photo via Flickr member Dan4th

You've definitely seen these cookies, even if you don't know them by that name. Well, they got that name because that is how they were entered in the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. They weren't the winning recipe: that honor went to "accordion treats", a sort of tuile-like cookie, which took home nearly $50,000. But even though peanut butter blossoms didn't win big money wise, perhaps they were the true winner because they would go on to become a classic cookie. Everyone has seen or tried these cookies--when is the last time you picked up an accordion treat cookie, though?

I became re-acquainted with the blossoms when I dug up an old recipe book of my late grandma--a self published church cookbook from the 1980s. I love these kinds of books. And peanut butter blossoms have become an enduring classic partly because of their popularity at bake sales and in books like this. 

Of course there was a recipe for peanut butter blossoms in this book. It was a fairly straightforward recipe, but I decided to veer off from tradition. The reason is that I needed some peanut butter cookies, but I was actually primarily using them to crumble for a most awesome cookie pie crust, so I didn't want the chocolate kisses included.

So I made the cookies, but...unblossomed.

Turns out, the peanut butter blossom sans blossom is still quite good. It's a solid cookie recipe, and the results taste like the peanut butter cookies you remember as a kid (or at least the ones I do). 

It feels like maybe there's a life lesson in that: even if we're not fully "bloomed" in life, there can still be delicious stuff going on even if our life isn't in full blossom. 

Ponder that one over a cookie, lets?

Peanut Butter Un-blossoms

Makes 24 or so cookies - Printable version here

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour

If you want to blossom-ize them: 24 Hershey's kisses

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line or grease two baking sheets.

Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and salt until really nice and fluffy. Add in the milk, vanilla, and egg; stir it until everything is combined.

Add the flour, and mix gently until combined into a cohesive dough. 

Portion out the dough into balls, about 1 inch in size. Place them on the baking sheets with a little space between. Use the tines of a fork to gently flatten the cookies by pressing once vertically and once horizontally, leaving a cross-hatch pattern. OR, if you must blossom these cookies, don't do the fork thing--simply press a hershey's kiss on top of each cookie. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.