Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

These cookies turned out so puffy that they caught me by surprise.

 And they’re so vanilla-ey, but that was by design because I’m a vanilla fiend.

They are a little bit peanut buttery even though I didn’t add peanut butter to the actual cookie dough.

Instead, I used peanut butter chips and they gave a subtle peanut butter flavor yet not so much that the vanilla flavor was lost.

I was going to add white chocolate chips, too, but I know not everyone is as crazy about white chocolate as I am, so I refrained.

I did add something to them that I almost never bake with. Good ole Lard. Good ole Crisco.

I read cookie making guides and online websites devoted to The Perfect Cookie and never tire of the epic food science quest in finding what makes cookies puffy, flat, chewy, crispy, you name it.

Many people swear by some lard to keep things moist and puffy. Scientifically, that makes sense.

And boy, puffy is what happened.

That would be pufffffyyyy.

Especially the second cookie down from the top. That was my favorite cookie of the batch and I made some glorious teeth marks in that little tophat.

Not using butter is a smidge of a sacrifice in the flavor department because there is nothing that can replace the flavor of butter in baking.

However, in terms of puffiness, chewiness, and softness, these babies were perfectly puffalicious and right on point.

 

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Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen small-to-medium sized cookies (I made 22 cookies)

1/2 cup Crisco (or vegetable shortening)

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt, optional

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup peanut butter chips (or butterscotch, white chocolate, chocolate chips if preferred)

Preheat oven to 375F and line two cookie sheets with Silpat liners, parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat together Crisco, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla, until batter is creamy. Add the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, flour and mix until just combined. Fold in peanut butter chips by hand. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 if you’re rushed. Do not skip chilling the dough if you want puffy cookies because cold dough results in puffier cookies.

Using a cookie scoop, form 1 inch balls (or roll balls by hand) and place on prepared cookie sheets, allowing for adequate spacing (these cookies do not spread much, but like all cookies, they spread some; and the colder the dough, the less they will spread). Bake for 8-10 minutes or until barely brown. Remove cookies from oven when they look slightly under-baked and allow cookies to cool and firm up on cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before moving to cooling racks. Store cookies in an airtight container on the countertop or freeze for up to 3 months.

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 I like vanilla-flavored foods. Actually, I am passionately in love with vanilla-flavored most anything, and I usually use twice the recommended amount of vanilla extract in any recipe.

The way I wrote the above recipe, you don’t need to do that, but if you’re really wanting to go nuts with vanilla flavor because you’re obsessed like I am, you could possibly add one more teaspoon or perhaps some vanilla bean paste to knock your vanilla socks right off.

I hate dry baked goods with a passion and these are anything but.

And puffy.

Related cookie recipes:

White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Mango and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies

White Chocolate Recipes

Peanut Butter Recipes

Do you have success with cookies turning out the way you want them to? Puffy or thinner, chewy or crispy, when you want them to be?  Or is it all pretty random?

There are times I think I have it all figured out and then, I’ll get flatter cookies like these (fruit used) or these (rum used) no matter what I tried to counteract it.

They taste great and are soft and super chewy, except their appearance is flatter. Baking with fruit or booze tends to throw scientific baking principles for a loop.

Do you bake with Crisco or shortening vs. butter? Thoughts?

Shortening = higher, puffier, lighter cookies but that telltale butter flavor (which I love) is absent

Butter = better flavor but it has a lower melting point so the cookies spread faster and stay flatter

In the end, all that really matters is that you have cookies to eat. And cookies are good. Period.

Thanks for the Practically Raw Vegan Cookbook Giveaway entries

   

157 Responses to “Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies”

  1. #
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    MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College — March 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I love your new blog name Averie and these cookies…my goodness they look perfect!

    Reply

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    Kris — March 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    YES, I was just saying yesterday that I always add more vanilla than most recipes.

    I am an all around cookie fan, sometimes I want a thin crunchy cookie, sometimes a soft fluffy cookie… these look great!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 12th, 2012 at 10:51 pm

      And you with the vanilla giveaway, I was in heaven when I saw all of that!

      Reply

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    STUFT Mama — March 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    I love the new blog name. Oh and these cookies are to die for. My mom always bakes with a combo of crisco and butter. :)

    Reply

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    j3nn — March 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I love big soft puffy cookies. :) I use Spectrum organic vegetable (palm) shortening in most of my baking, otherwise it’s butter. I love the shortening, though. I use it for everything! I cook with it, bake with it, add it to Dustin’s smoothies. It’s good stuff.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Do you think the Spectrum makes a difference? Is lard all just lard, but under different brand names? Or is there a difference do you find? It’s sort of like is King Arthur A.P. flour 3x better than generic store brand A.P. flour based on price? I could talk food science all day…

      Reply

      • Rachel R replied: — May 9th, 2012 at 5:47 am

        Totally backtracking here, but I just made these with Spectrum all veg shortening and they were even puffier than the cookies you photographed! Pretty much retained their shape completely after they came out of the oven!

        • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 9th, 2012 at 8:05 am

          I love feedback like this! Good to know you had such puffy results! Yay!

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    Sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 13, 2012 at 1:50 am

    OMG Averie, i’m literally almost drooling on my keyboard lol. I’ve NEVER seen a more puffy, perfect cookie! crisco is the secret, i suppose! i am in love with the science behind baking cookies. there is always more to learn! PS: totally pinning those white choc chip snickerdoodles. how’d i miss those before?!?!? yum!!!

    Reply

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    Blog is the New Black — March 13, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Averie, your pics are to die for! Loving the texture here… and I love the addition of the peanut chips to a mostly vanilla cookie!

    Reply

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    Kathryn — March 13, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I love vanilla too so these are right up my street! They look amazingly puffy and chewy too. Just delicious!

    Reply

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    Paula — March 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Love thick, puffy, chewy cookies and I usually just use whatever fat I have on hand which is usually Smart Balance. If Crisco is the secret to those beauties, I should keep a can on hand, though I’m also intrigued with Spectrum organic shortening mentioned by another reader above. Nice to have the reminder about what different fats do to baked goods!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I think that shortening is shortening; organic just means it’s organic fat as opposed to conventional fat :) kidding…but I dunno…I should try it.

      Reply

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    Erica — March 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

    You know I love a puffy cookie! These look perfect! I’ve always wondered about baking with crisco!

    Reply

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — March 13, 2012 at 4:25 am

    These look so chewy and yummy! Great idea!

    Reply

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    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — March 13, 2012 at 4:29 am

    It’s been a really long time since I’ve made cookies with shortening, but I do remember the puff factor. I have some organic shortening in the pantry – I think I can use that with a little less guilt, right??

    Reply

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    Katie @ Raisins&Apples — March 13, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Although I have never tried it, I know that Crisco makes a butter flavored shortening!

    Reply

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — March 13, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Puffy cookies all the way. YUM. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used Crisco.

    Reply

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    Kita — March 13, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Oh these look like soft chewy dream cookies. The vanilla is what’s doing it for me though, I am really digging on the sound of that.

    Reply

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    jasper naomi — March 13, 2012 at 6:01 am

    One time a hardcore butter user caught me in the catching whipping up a batch of choc chip cookies…using shortening :/ … hehe

    Reply

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    marla — March 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

    You used the word “puffy” and I am so in love with that. In a cookie :) LOVE your new blog name and header!

    Reply

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    BruCrew Life — March 13, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I “puffy heart” love cookies like this! I always use a mixture of butter and shortening in cookies because I just love the butter flavor, but want the softness from shortening. Your cookies look amazing!!!! I love the subtle hint of peanut butter that you added to the vanilla cookie!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:48 am

      I’m going to try to do a blend of butter/shortening on the next batch I make and see what I get.

      Reply

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    katie @ KatieDid — March 13, 2012 at 6:35 am

    The cookie “tophot” lol! Love the description, it’s perfect. Love that you’re getting back to the basics with these using good old fashion crisco, white sugar, brown sugar etc. I think your grandmother would be proud :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:47 am

      she would be and then I have to freeze them inside Folger’s coffee cans so I have things on hand for all my unexpected guests that will be dropping by for tea and coffee :)

      Reply

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    Krissy's Creations — March 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

    New Blog Design/Header? Love it! And these cookies. Wow they look so fluffy and moist. Love that you added the PB Chips :)

    Reply

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    Katie — March 13, 2012 at 6:40 am

    I saw an 8th grader who did a cookie taste test for a science fair. A gril after my heart. She made the same recipe with crisco, margarine, butter, and vegetable oil. The crisco cookies won, hands down.

    Reply

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    Cassie — March 13, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I love the texture of these, they look so moist and chewy. My favorite in a cookie. Love these!

    Reply

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    Meg @ Sweet Twist — March 13, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Your cookies always look so delicious!!

    Reply

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    Kelli@Kellird.com — March 13, 2012 at 7:38 am

    How pretty are those cookies?!? I can almost taste them! I love a puffy, soft moist cookie. Everyone always asks how I get my cookies so puffy. My secret is vanilla instant pudding powder. It gives an amazing taste and gives the cookie great height! I know you would love them. Here is a link to the recipe: http://kellird.com/worlds-best-chocolate-chip-cookies/

    Reply

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    Melissa — March 13, 2012 at 7:54 am

    These look divine! I always use butter flavored crisco for cookies. I know it’s horrible for you, but if I’m having a cookie, I want it puffy and chewy and perfect, and crisco just gets it done! And double vanilla??? Yeah, I usually use a full tablespoon! ;)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:46 am

      I really don’t think it’s any worse than butter..I mean, lard is lard, fat is fat; “healhty fats” and “unhealthy” fats…I dunnno…as you say, it’s a cookie, not broccoli :)

      Reply

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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — March 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Cookies look perfect! I love a puffy cookie! I sometimes use 1/2 Crisco 1/2 butter in cookies or you can go all crisco but get the butter flavored one. But I try to use at least 1/2 to get the fluffy cookies!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:44 am

      That’s a good tip. So if something says use a 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), you’d use 1/4 cup of butter & 1/4 cup Criso…I’ve read that and should try it and see what I come up with.

      Reply

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    Cindy — March 13, 2012 at 8:51 am

    that’s funny about the puffy ness and crisco.

    I haven’t had shortening in my pantry for over a decade. I’m a butter fanatic all the way.

    and I don’t even measure vanilla…I just pour it in! SPLOOSH!

    hehe

    cookies look amazing!
    xoxo

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:43 am

      I don’t measure it either….I use the sploosh method, too :) Unless I am cooking for a blog recipe, then I try a bit better to be exact.

      Reply

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    Amber Shea @Almost Vegan — March 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Pff, don’t listen to the white chocolate skeptics. They know nothing ;P

    All my family’s “traditional” recipes use Crisco as the fat. I think it started as a “poor people” thing, and now they still use it because “You shouldn’t mess with what works.”

    These look so wrinkly and delish!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:42 am

      I can count on you to be my white chocolate advocating champion :)

      Reply

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    Laura | A Healthy Jalapeno — March 13, 2012 at 9:15 am

    These cookies look wonderful, as does the new page. Very cute!
    An yes I agree, as long as you have cookies you can have them any way.

    Reply

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    char eats greens — March 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

    How do you make all these goodies and still look amazing?!?! If you have a begger pile of cookies waiting to go to someone, I will personally fly to San Diego to take them off your hands ;) haha

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:41 am

      Most everything I made yields no more than 1 or 1.5 dozen That way me and the family each have our couple of cookies over the course of a day or two, and it’s done. No 4 dozen batches of anything for us around here!

      Reply

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    Deirdre — March 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

    They look like they melt in your mouth! So so yum!
    I’m interested in learning about the science of obtaining the “perfect” cookie: chewy, etc. thanks for the links!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:41 am

      And everyone has “the perfect answer”, too. It all comes down to trial, error, and practice makes perfect :)

      Reply

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    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — March 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Your yummy baked goods, always leaves me drooling!!!!

    Reply

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    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — March 13, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I haven’t done too much experimenting in the puffy department but I do know that refrigerating my dough overnight makes a world of difference in flavor!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Both in flavor and texture. Cold dough spreads way less than fresh just-mixed dough.

      Reply

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    Amber K — March 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Playing around with cookie recipes is half the fun! Okay, really eating them is all of the fun. But you know what I mean. I don’t think I have ever baked with Crisco, the whole substance kind of creeps me out. Especially because I knew a girl in school who would bring it in a Ziploc bag and snack on it throughout the day. Not for me!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Playing around with cookie recipes is half the fun = I AGREE!

      Reply

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    Charity — March 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, can’t wait to make these.

    Reply

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    Tracy — March 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I love the look of those puffy cookies! I don’t think I have ever seen puffy cookies like that. I usually bake with butter, and have recently started experimenting with coconut oil, but never shortening.

    Reply

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    Lindsay @ Fuel My Family — March 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Ok if I start gaining weight I know it will be from all the delicous cookie recipes on your blog! Just kidding :). I am always weary of crisco as well, the thought of it grosses me out. But our grandmas swore by it and they sure do know how to bake!

    Reply

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    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers — March 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Ha, I have a can of Crisco that’s going to last me a lifetime. I only use it once a year to make my Thanksgiving apple pie, so I guess it’s a good thing the stuff lasts forever.

    Reply

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — March 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    These cookies sound wonderful, awesome job. Great idea blending vanilla with peanut butter. I’m a vanilla fan too, love adding it to smoothies. I can’t remember the last time u’vevused Crisco, that brings back memories. :-)

    Reply

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    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — March 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    omg my mouth is watering! I love the word puffy in a cookie

    Reply

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    Maria — March 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    The cookies look perfecto!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Super high praise coming from you, the Cookie Queen. Thanks, Maria!

      Reply

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    Annie — March 13, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I lost count how many times today I looked at these pieces of puffy heaven.

    Reply

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    vanillasugarblog — March 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    oh girl these sound so good!
    i am so on a PB kick lately.
    and having puffy makes it all better. lol

    send me some sunshine!!

    Reply

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    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips — March 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    These sounds yummy. I am obsessed with peanut butter and vanilla. I double the vanilla all the time, too!

    Reply

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — March 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Ooooh cookies … they are my favourite dessert :-) Love the look of your puffy cookies and the moistness (ha – that word again) in the middle. Perfection.

    Reply

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    Dana — March 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I’m a peanut butter addict, and I usually use the pb chips in chocolate cookies, but have never really cared for the dryness of the chocolate cookie. I have, however, used Butter-Flavor Crisco in my regular chocolate chip cookies for years and have always had fantastic results. They’re puffy and chewy and altogether yummy. So the next cookies I bake (tomorrow!) will be these. Can’t wait to try the vanilla/pb combo!! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 13th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      keep me posted if you make them!

      Reply

      • Dana replied: — March 14th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        So…I noticed that your recipe is really similar to my classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, the differences being in the amount of flour and salt, sugar measurements (although the total amount is the same) and that I use BF Crisco. And yours has the water, cinnamon and the extra vanilla of course. So I sort of did a hybrid of both and the cookies turned out SUPER yummy. I used a cup of peanut butter chips and a cup of milk chocolate chips. Love the touch of cinnamon and the extra vanilla really kicks them over the top. Awesome recipe!! :)

        • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 14th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

          Sounds like a winner! Thanks for the feedback!

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    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I’ve noticed that about recipes that use fats other than butter, they stay puffier because they have less water than butter does and spread less. Like the new name and logo by the way!

    Reply

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    marissa @ the boot — March 14, 2012 at 4:09 am

    i feel like a little bit of lard isn’t so bad – plus if you’re having a cookie you might as well go big, right? :) i love your blog so much!

    Reply

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    Calee (@chimes) — March 14, 2012 at 7:04 am

    psh. crisco makes the best cookies. :) Also, I just realized you changed your banner! :) Love it.

    Reply

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    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — March 14, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Do you know I have NEVER baked with Crisco? I feel like I was raised in the generation where Crisco became a bad word. But based on these cookies, I should give it a try!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 14th, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Couldn’t have said it better myself…our generation missed it and it was a bad word but hey, we can change that :)

      Reply

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    Deborah — March 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    My mom always used shortening in cookies growing up, so I know puffy cookies!! My typical chocolate chip cookie is the Toll House recipe, but with half butter and half shortening. That way you get some of the flavor from the butter and some of the texture from the shortening. Now I want cookies!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — March 14th, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Everyone in the know seems to do the 1/2 butter & 1/2 shortening trick. Where have I been?! I need the best of both worlds!

      Reply

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