Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Make Your Own Refrigerator Log Peanut Butter Cookies and a Quiz Contest from Cleo Coyle

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These days, when busy families have a hankering for home-baked cookies, they often reach for store-bought logs wrapped in plastic. While those pre-made logs are convenient, you can't beat the taste of fresh ingredients in homemade.

Cleo Coyle, whose husband
is also her partner in
crime writing, is author of
The Coffeehouse
So click here (for the PDF) or scroll down to get my version of Pillsbury's refrigerator log cookies. After all...

Nothing says Lovin' from the Oven like a pan of home-baked peanut butter cookies, slightly crispy on the outside, warm and tender on the inside. May you bake these with love and eat them with joy.

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Make Your Own
Refrigerator Log
Peanut Butter Cookies

To download a free PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here

In traditional peanut butter cookie recipes, you're instructed to roll the dough into little balls and smush each down with a crisscrossing of fork prongs. If you want to stick to that standard method, no worries, this recipe can be made that way, too. On the other hand, there are several advantages to the refrigerator log method...

Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator allows the flavors to develop, which produces a better tasting cookie.

The log gives you the convenience of only slicing off and baking as many cookies as you need at the time, which means you can serve up a warm pan of them, freshly baked, every afternoon or evening until the dough is gone, instead of being stuck baking all the dough at once.

Yields: About 4 dozen cookies 


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
(optional) about 1/4 cup more granulated, white sugar (for topping)

Directions: Using an electric mixer, cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in remaining ingredients until soft dough forms. Using hands, shape dough into 2 or 3 logs of about 2-inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic or wax paper and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight. The flavors will develop and the log will firm up. You can now slice as many or as few cookies as you like before re-wrapping the log and returning to the fridge for storage. 

Note: The most popular brand of store-bought log cookies says their brand will last 1 week after opening. That's about the same amount of time I'd give these homemade logs in your refrigerator. To freeze, slice up the cookies first, place them flat on a plate (lined with plastic or wax paper so they don't stick). After about 90 minutes, take the firmed-up cookie slices and drop them into a freezer-safe plastic bag, seal and store (up to 3 months).

To Bake: While you certainly don’t need to use fork prongs to make a crisscross design on each slice, I find the traditional look of a peanut butter cookie isn't quite complete without those cute little X’s. I dip my fork tines into a bit of water and then granulated sugar before dragging them lightly across each slice. 

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 17 minutes. The exact time depends on your oven and the thickness of your cookie slices. Do not over-bake. Peanut butter cookies with scorched bottoms are pretty much inedible, so be careful. The cookies should be lightly golden brown and not dark brown. Remove from pan promptly, cool on a rack, and…

Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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  1. Mmm, fresh, soft peanut butter cookies whenever I want them. Now THAT is a recipe!

    1. Aw, thanks, Libby - Nothing beats lovin' from the oven like peanut butter cookies—that's my husband's view!

      These are Marc’s favorite, and I often make a double batch and pre-slice two of the four logs, freeze the slices (about 90 minutes on a plate covered with plastic or wax paper to prevent sticking). Once the slices are as firm, I toss them into a plastic bag. They keep in the freezer about 3 months that way (although they always end up vanishing long before that).

      Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today, Libby. Have a delicious week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. Yum & only as many as you need!

    1. Exactly, Helena Georgette, a I mentioned to Libby, I often make a double batch so I can freeze some of the cookies. They're so good with cold milk or hot coffee. A classic...

      Cheers and thanks for dropping in today, HG, have a great week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. I love this recipe! But I think it wouldn't taste the same without the criss-cross pattern. Instant return to happy childhood days!

    Thank you, Cleo.

    1. Thanks, MJ, and I completely agree with you on that classic crisscross pattern. :)

      These truly are Marc’s favorite cookies. I’m partial to chocolate chip, but these run a close second, especially with a big glass of cold milk; lots of good childhood memories there!

      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    2. How about adding chocolate chips to this recipe? Sounds like another winner to me.

  4. Yummy cookies. Definitely childhood memories. I'm working on a cookie recipe for my latest Cookbook Nook mystery. Darned if I don't "hate" testing out all these goodies. Okay, just kidding! LOL

    Daryl - fun quiz, by the way!

    1. Thanks, Daryl, I love that you're writing the Cookbook Nook Mysteries--and your delicious Cheese Shop Mysteries, too. BTW - I think you're about ready to publish your own cookbook. (I'll be first in line to buy it!)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. I think it's impossible to even see a peanut butter cookie (with the criss-cross pattern, of course) without smiling. Instant happiness! What a great idea this is, Cleo - my family will think thankful thoughts of you whenever someone bakes a few of these slices.

    1. Oh, I love your comment, Laine, and that's just how I feel. This is such a nostalgic cookie for us in America. In Italy, of course, the hazelnut is King (hence Nutella!). Here we have the humble but much loved peanut, and I can't think of anything I'd rather have sprinkled on a hot fudge sundae or spread on bread with jelly...or folded into a basic cookie dough.

      Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen tonight, Laine, it's always a pleasure...have a delicious week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Now that I can buy peanut butter with no rapeseed oil in it, I can make peanut butter cookies again. The regular ground peanuts only variety of p.b. is too dry for baking so was thrilled that Skippy Natural is out now with no canola/rapeseed oil that makes my throat close due to anaphylactic reactions. Love refrigerator/ice box cookies on hand for unexpected company too. Thank you so much for the recipe, Cleo.

    1. You are very welcome, ceblain. That's an interesting note about the rapeseed oil. I'll have to look for Skippy Natural and try it. As you mentioned, the "ground peanuts only" would not be a good choice for this cookie. Standard creamy (or chunky) peanut butter is what I use in the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it.

      Cheers and thanks so much for dropping by...
      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

    2. Interesting. I use Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter for my baking. Nothing but peanuts, but unlike the just-ground butter at the stores, it isn't dry and crumbly.

    3. Libby - Thank you for the note on this. I'll check out both the Skippy Natural and your suggestion of the Smucker's Natural PB, too. We are PB lovers so they won't go to waste!

      - Cleo

  7. Isn't it funny that we expect the criss-cross on peanut butter cookies? These look delicious! I have to try them. I'm a big believer in having goodies in the freezer!


    1. It is funny, isn't it? And I completely agree on those fork marks. I like to dip the fork prongs in water and drag them through granulated sugar before crossing them over each cookie slice--so there's a little sugar-caramelization going on as the cookie-top bakes in the oven. Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you have a delicious week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter