You might find yourself in a sticky situation if you celebrate today’s food holiday…but you’ll love it! June 12 is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day.
George Washington Carver may have had a confusingly Presidential name, but the agricultural teacher at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute was more interested in peanuts than politics. He advocated them as a replacement crop for cotton, which was being decimated by insects at the time. Carver published a cookbook in 1916 called How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption, which might just win the award for Longest Cookbook Title Ever. The book contained three recipes for peanut cookies, all of which called for crushed or chopped peanuts. It wasn’t until a few years later that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient. Originally, the cookies were formed into balls, but these did not cook properly. Bakers began flattening the dough with forks, leading to the signature criss-cross marks so closely associated with peanut butter cookies. Pillsbury touted the use of a fork to make these waffle-like marks, when their recipe for Peanut Butter Balls was published in 1933. Cooks were instructed to press the cookies using fork tines. Alternative methods called for using a device called a cookie shovel, and then transporting them to the oven using a cookie wheelbarrow. Crumbs could be cleaned up using a cookie rake.
Our peanut butter cookies still contained crosshatch marks even though we didn’t make them from scratch. Instead, we opted for some Nutter Butters, which have the added advantage of being peanut butter cookies shaped like peanuts. Mr. Carver would be impressed.