As with most great recipes, this one comes with a story. When I was a kid, I lived with my grandma. We were poor, though I didn't know it then-- it was just how we were. It wasn't often, but I do remember going in the early cool mornings to stand in line at the bull barn with my grandma to collect our welfare staples. We'd grab a box, then go down the long buffet tables collecting our family sized cans of fruit cocktail and green beans, processed cheese and tubs of creamy peanut butter.
The peanut butter came in giant white containers with black lettering that said 'Peanut Butter' - it was as generic as could be and took a family of 8 about a year to get through it all. I liked the idea of baking but my grandma didn't have cookbooks, she just cooked by taste. If we had dessert, it was usually a boxed cake mix or red jello. And the internet was non-existent, so there was no googling recipes. If I wanted to bake, I had to make due with what I had. And what I had was a tub of peanut butter with a recipe on the back.
This was one of the first recipes from scratch that I ever made, if not the first. I made a full recipe and stacked them high on a plate for my dad. He was picking me up for the weekend and I could not wait for him to try the fresh from the oven cookies. They were nutty, buttery, crispy on the edges, chewy in the center and had the identifying fork marks indented in the tops of them. They were perfect and I was so proud of myself. I beamed in anticipation of my dad trying them. When he did, he said "I don't like peanut butter" and I instantly deflated. I don't know if he ever ate them but all these years later I still remember those cookies and how good they were. I've tried other recipes and none have ever compared. It was not until I did a Google search for "welfare peanut butter cookies" (read this, it's funny!) that I found this recipe again and I'm so glad I did because it took me back to when I was a kidlet in my grandma's kitchen mixing up dough at her kitchen table.
Welfare Peanut Butter CookiesPrinter Friendly Version
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup fat (margarine, butter, or shortening)*(see note)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Mix fat and peanut butter. Add both kinds of sugar. Mix well. Add eggs and beat well.
Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture.
Drop dough from a teaspoon on baking pan. Flatten with a fork.
Bake at 375 ° (moderate oven) 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.
NOTE: This recipe calls for "fat". I used half amounts of butter (for crispness) and shortening (for chew).