Peanut Butter Cookies: A History of Discovery and Delight

Peanut butter cookies, a beloved treat enjoyed by generations, have a rich history that spans continents and centuries. From their humble beginnings as a health food to their transformation into a culinary staple, the discovery of peanut butter cookies is a fascinating tale of innovation and culinary evolution.

The Origins of Peanut Butter

The story of peanut butter cookies begins with the peanut itself. Native to South America, peanuts were introduced to Africa and Asia by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century. By the 18th century, peanuts had made their way to North America, where they quickly became a popular crop.

In the late 19th century, a physician named John Harvey Kellogg, seeking a nutritious food for his patients with poor dentition, developed a peanut butter paste. This paste, marketed as a health food, gained popularity as a spread and an ingredient in various dishes.

The Birth of Peanut Butter Cookies

The first known peanut butter cookies emerged in the early 20th century. In 1904, peanut butter was introduced to the world at the St. Louis World’s Fair, where it quickly gained attention for its unique flavor and versatility.

Around the same time, home cooks began experimenting with peanut butter as an ingredient in cookies. Initially, these cookies were made with ground peanuts instead of peanut butter. However, as peanut butter became more widely available, it became the preferred choice for cookie makers.

The Crisscross Mark: A Culinary Tradition

One of the most distinctive features of peanut butter cookies is the crisscross pattern imprinted on their tops. This pattern, created by pressing a fork into the dough, is believed to have originated in the 1930s.

According to culinary historians, the crisscross mark served several purposes. It helped to flatten the cookies, ensuring even baking. It also created a decorative touch, making the cookies more visually appealing.

Peanut Butter Cookies: An American Icon

By the mid-20th century, peanut butter cookies had become a staple in American households. They were featured in cookbooks, magazines, and advertisements, and they quickly became a favorite treat for children and adults alike.

The popularity of peanut butter cookies can be attributed to their simple ingredients, ease of preparation, and irresistible flavor. They are a versatile treat that can be enjoyed on their own, dipped in milk, or paired with a variety of toppings.

Peanut Butter Cookies Today

Today, peanut butter cookies remain a beloved treat around the world. They are enjoyed in homes, bakeries, and restaurants, and they continue to inspire new variations and flavor combinations.

From their humble beginnings as a health food to their transformation into a culinary icon, the discovery of peanut butter cookies is a testament to the power of innovation and the enduring appeal of simple, delicious treats.

For the love of the vintage kitchen

It’s not because my family made Peanut Blossoms a lot that I am familiar with this cookie. More than anything, these cookies were always present when they were given to us. When I was younger, these cookies combined my favorite things—candy and cookies—into one delicious treat.

What ingredients are in Peanut Blossoms? This is a simple question to answer because it is simply a baked peanut butter cookie with a Hershey Kiss pressed in the center. Certain recipes require the cookies to be returned to the oven for a few minutes in order to set, while others do not. In place of the chocolate kiss, some variations use a mini Reese’s Peanutbutter Cup or a Brach’s Chocolate Stars Candy.

When I started researching this cookie, I honestly believed that it would immediately point to Hershey’s creating the recipe in order to sell more of their Kisses candy—but who invented Peanut Blossoms and where was it created? Given that candy makes up a large portion of Peanut Blossoms, it makes sense. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

how were peanut butter cookies discovered

Freda Smith of Gibsonburg, Ohio created the Peanut Blossom for the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. The contest has been held off and on since 1949. A hundred home bakers are selected to prepare their delicacies for the judges after they submit their recipes using Pillsbury products, of course! The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California served as the venue for the 1957 competition. During his acting career, Ronald Reagan made an appearance as a special guest and spokeswoman for General Electric, one of the 1957 Bake Off’s sponsors. It lost out on the grand prize to a cookie with a crescent shape. Despite being the senior grand national winner of the cookie division—what a mouthful— She was awarded $100 in addition to a brand-new mixer and an elite electric range.

The fact that the peanut blossom cookies weren’t even a recipe she intended to enter in the competition is my favorite part of this story. Her first entry was for a cornucopia-shaped pastry. She thought the peanut butter cookies she was making for her grandsons one night looked plain. Her daughter claims, “She opened the cabinet and found candy kisses.” She thought they would melt. The cookie cracked and reminded her of black-eyed Susan flowers when they didn’t melt. As a last-minute attempt, Freda entered the cookies into the competition using the name “black-eyed Susans,” and her recipe allowed her to be considered for a spot among the 100 finalists. It was Pillsbury that changed the name to Peanut Blossoms. Cookie history was made!.

how were peanut butter cookies discovered

Freda called the Pillsbury Bake-Off Experience a “fabulous dream,” saying she thoroughly enjoyed it. They kept sending her and previous competitors gifts of cookbooks and new Pillsbury products. Her favorite story was when the vice president of the Hershey Company noticed her inventive use of the Kiss candy and referred to her recipe as a “baking first.” Along with nine other recipes, the recipe that was previously printed on the back of Pillsbury Flour packages was also inducted into the Pillsbury Bake-Off Hall of Fame in 1999.

how were peanut butter cookies discovered

When was Peanut Blossom popular? Let’s face it. I think it goes without saying that this cookie is still quite well-liked and closely associated with the Christmas season. Since everyone is able to see, I really don’t need to provide any evidence. I’m sure you’ve seen this cookie if you’ve ever attended a holiday potluck, exchanged cookies, read a magazine, or watched Christmas advertisements. When an article from 1999 stated that “most everyone has seen, if not munched on, Smith’s spur-of-the-moment concoction,” they were in agreement with me. But since this is me, let’s start citing our sources!

The Peanut Blossom cookies’ potential was quickly recognized in the mid-1900s. They were described as a “real confection that you can put to uses in many ways” in a 1969 article, which also mentioned how great the cookies were as party or picnic fare. While most of the articles I came across recommended Peanut Blossoms as a wonderful complement to holiday cookie gift-giving Some articles from 1968 described the cookie as a favorite and a popular recipe for special occasions, while others called it “really good for the holidays.”

When we fast-forward to the more recent past, the sentiment remains largely unchanged. It is said that the Peanut Blossom cookie is a Christmastime favorite and a national favorite. They “can’t remember a Christmas without Peanut Blossom cookies,” according to a 2003 article. According to a 1999 article commemorating the Peanut Blossom’s induction into the Hall of Fame, “American cooks make Peanut Blossoms, that classic peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey’s chocolate kiss candy, from coast to coast.” ”.

The cookie is featured in many modern cookbooks. Peanut Blossoms are a well-liked cookie that are “often the first cookies to disappear from a table full of choices,” according to Classic Cookies with Modern Twists (2015). According to Sally’s Candy Addiction (2015), the traditional holiday cookie is a “classic American cookie that both kids and adults love.” The cookbook Midwest Made (2019) posed the question, “What would an American Christmas cookie tin be without the ubiquitous peanut butter blossom?”

For starters, making peanut blossoms is a lot of fun and very simple. This could be the ideal cookie for you if you enjoy peanut butter and chocolate together. If you don’t then you might want to skip it. The 1973 article “A plate of peanut blossoms using the ever-popular peanut butter and chocolate kisses on top, are decorative as well as chewy and delicious” pretty much sums up the cookie in my opinion. ”.

How to make Peanut Blossoms: the addition of two tablespoons of milk separates the two slightly different versions of the recipe. The milk is included on the back of the current Hershey Kisses, but not in the original recipe found in the Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook from the ninth edition. Both of the recipes have advantages and disadvantages, which I determined by testing them.

how were peanut butter cookies discovered

Forming the non-milk version into a ball requires a bit more effort because it is much more crumbly. The advantage of this dough is that it has more defined cracks that give it a more floral appearance when the Hershey Kiss is pressed into it. Because the dough infused with milk is softer, it is easier to shape into balls. When the candy is pressed into the cookie, it stays more rounded and cracks less because it is softer. Another significant distinction I noticed was that the chocolate Kiss retained longer in the dough containing milk than in the dough without.

The classic peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey Kiss.

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter or shortening
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus more for rolling the dough in
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon milk (optional)
  • Approximately thirty-six Hershey Kisses, uncovered (number of cookies produced may vary)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the salt, baking soda, and all-purpose flour; set aside.
  • Beat the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars in a sizable mixing bowl until they are light and fluffy.
  • Beat thoroughly after adding the egg, vanilla, and milk (if using).
  • Slowly add in the sifted dry ingredients until well combined.
  • Form dough into balls with tablespoons and coat in sugar. Place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. After that, take the cookies out of the oven and press the Hershey Kisses inside. Return to the oven and bake for another 3 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

sources: America’s Test Kitchen. The Cook’s Country Cookbook. United States: America’s Test Kitchen, 2008.

“Cookies: Treats Come with Stories.” Sunday News. Deceber 14, 2003.

Craig, Barbara. “Favorite Recipes”. The Hamlin Herald. March 20, 1969.

Elvin, Ella. “Bloomin’ Good Taste to Peanut Blossoms”. Daily News. July 19, 1969.

Jackson, Ellen. The Best Recipes for Time-Honored and New Favorites: 100 Classic Cookies with Modern Twists United States: Sasquatch Books, 2015.

Mandingo, Helen J. “For Holiday Gift-Giving: Preparing Festive Treats Age-Old Tradition”. The Baltimore Sun. Novemeber 30, 1967.

McKenney, Sally. Sally’s Candy Addiction: Delicious Fudges and Truffles United States: Race Point Publishing, 2015.

Phillips, Elaine. “Culinary Corner”. Springfield Leader and Press. March 14, 1968.

Pillsbury’s 9th Grand National Cook Book. 1957

“Recipe of the Week: Kissin’ Don’t Last but Cookin’ Do. ” The Marysville Advocate. December 26, 1968.

Roccisano, Rose. “Pillsbury Bestows Posthumous Award on Gibsonburg Woman for Her Peanut Blossom Recipe” The News-Messenger. May 25, 1999.

Schuett, Elizabeth. “Baking on Cold Days Leads to History Lesson”. News Herald. Febuary 13, 1996.

Sever, Shauna. Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland. United States: Running Press, 2019.

Smith, Kathie. “Classic Recipes WIn Spots in Pillsbury Hall of Fame”. The Tennessean. July 19, 1999.

“Tasty”. Davis County Clipper. March 9, 1973.

The Ultimate Cookie Book. United States: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2014.

Peanut Butter | How It’s Made

When were peanut butter cookies made?

It was not until the early 1930s that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient in the cookies. Early peanut butter cookies were either rolled thin and cut into shapes, or else they were dropped and made into balls; they did not have fork marks.

How can one tell when a jar of peanut butter is no longer safe to consume?

If you notice that peanut butter has a rancid smell or a strange taste, it is best not to consume it. Also, if you notice mold or mildew on the surface of the peanut butter, it’s best to discard it right away.

Where did peanut cookies come from?

The cookie originated in the United States, its development dating back to the 1910s. George Washington Carver (1864–1943), an American agricultural extension educator, from Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, was the most well known promoter of the peanut as a replacement for the cotton crop, which had been heavily damaged by the boll weevil.

When was peanut butter invented?

Rosefield created the first crunchy style peanut butter two years later by adding chopped peanuts into creamy peanut butter at the end of the manufacturing process. It is not until the early 1930s that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient in cookies.

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