Hash Tag Cookies

People had been making a criss-cross impression on balls of cookie dough with a fork long before 1925, when George Washington Carver issued an agricultural bulletin with 105 recipes using peanuts, including three for cookies. Some people might tell you the imprint helps cookies bake evenly, but more likely a fork is nine times out of ten more at hand than a cookie press. How the criss-cross became a traditional hash tag for peanut butter cookies is material for a Beard Award. Here’s a good one-bowl recipe for this all-time American favorite.

Combine 1 cup packed light brown sugar with a half cup each of softened butter and peanut butter. Mix until smooth; add a beaten egg and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix very well. Sift in a half teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder into a cup and a half of AP flour, add to peanut butter mix, and stir thoroughly until it forms a smooth dough. Shape into balls a little smaller than a ping-pong, roll in sugar (optional), and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a fork that has been dipped in sugar so it won’t stick. Make a criss-cross pattern, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Pecan Blossoms

Beat a half cup each white sugar, packed brown sugar, creamy peanut butter, and unsalted butter with a large egg until well blended. Use a table fork; trust me. Sift a teaspoon baking soda and a half teaspoon baking powder with a cup and a half of AP flour, and stir in a cup of rather finely-chopped pecans. Mix flour and butter mixtures to doughy consistency. Spoon dough into 1-inch balls—it helps to have a cookie scoop—and place on a lightly-oiled baking pan. Bake at 350 until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven, and immediately press a milk chocolate kiss in each cookie. Cool on a rack.