In less time than it takes to preheat the oven, you can have these ready and waiting to bake on a tray. There are plenty of variations here and I've played with the recipe a bit in the past. In the end, I keep going back to the original. I love it for its simplicity.
COOK'S NOTE: Feel free to add a teaspoon of vanilla, an additional egg (for a gooier cookie*), a pinch of sea salt or a handful of chocolate chips, the cookies are delicious as written or with the extra ingredients! I do not recommend using a natural peanut butter for this recipe. I've found that a commercial peanut butter, i.e. Jiff or Skippy will work best for these cookies.
Yield: 18 cookies
1 cup peanut butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the ingredients together until smooth. Scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. (Roll into 1" balls with your hands, if you do not have a scoop.) Press down with the back of a fork and then press again from the opposite direction, to form the criss cross pattern on top.
These cookies will not spread at all. You can bake the full recipe on a single tray, if you would like. Bake for 12 minutes and then let cool on the tray for 1-2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
* If you choose to add an extra egg, simply scoop the finished cookie dough onto the baking tray. It will not be firm enough to roll into balls or press with a criss cross pattern. The cookies will be more puffy straight out of the oven and then will settle a bit as they cool.
(originally published 08/14/2013 - photos and recipe notes updated 01/15/2015)