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.



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.


 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

158 comments on “Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies”

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

  2. 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!

  3. Pingback: Peanut Butter Recipes

  4. 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. :)

  5. 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.

    • 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…

      • 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!

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

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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!

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

  9. 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!

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

  11. These look so chewy and yummy! Great idea!

  12. 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??

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

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

  15. 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.

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

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

  18. 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!!

  19. 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 :)

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

  21. 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.

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

  23. Your cookies always look so delicious!!

  24. 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/

  25. 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! ;)

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