Shortbread is a classic, but adding peanut butter to your shortbread cookie recipe is a great way to add a little holiday flair! These cookies do not rise like regular cookies, so shape them as big as you want them to be before baking!
I love how thick these Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies are! They don’t actually rise up that much during baking, so the images here will give you a good indication of how much you should flatten them with a fork before you place them in the oven.
IS THE SANDING SUGAR NECESSARY?
The sanding sugar on top is completely optional. I just like to add it because it looks pretty and adds a little bit of crunchiness to the buttery cookie. It also adds a bit of sweetness.
You might think that since Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies already has sugar and honey, the sanding sugar might make the cookie too sweet, but this cookie can really handle it!
SANDING VS GRANULATED SUGAR
I use coarse sanding sugar quite often in my recipes, and I hope it hasn’t been too difficult for you to find. Sanding sugar is sometimes referred to as baking sugar, and there are some substitutes. You can use other sugars – which are basically the same, but named something differently – there’s pearl sugar and coarse sugar. You cannot, however, use granulated sugar. Let me explain why.
Whereas an individual granule of sanding sugar is large and hard, a single granule of granulated sugar is quite small. Sanding sugar will hold up to the heat in your oven without melting; granulated sugar will not. If you cannot find sanding sugar, then I’m afraid this recipe is not for you.
You can find sanding sugar online, but it’s expensive in comparison to what you can find at a baking supply store. I buy most of my sanding sugar at Bulk Barn. They have just about every colour you will need!
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
LET’S TALK PEANUT BUTTER!
Before you are tempted to send me an email or a comment knocking my choice for peanut butter that is not natural and organic, hear me out! This recipe will not work with natural peanut butter. I repeat, this recipe will not work with natural peanut butter.
There, I said it. Now, if you go ahead and make this recipe using natural peanut butter and it comes out of the oven in a big, wet mess, you cannot blame me.
John.e uses only natural peanut butter, but I do not. I do not like it at all. Yes, it’s healthier and better for me, but I’d rather not eat it at all if I have to choose the natural stuff. I grew up on Kraft or Jiffy peanut butter and it’s the only peanut butter I ever use.
For these Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies you have the choice of smooth peanut butter or crunchy. But, you do not have a choice between all natural and the sugar-laden, mass produced stuff. The cookie will not bake and it most certainly will not taste right.
If you are completely against using non-natural peanut butter, as harsh as it may sound, this recipe is most certainly not for you.
SAVE THAT EXPENSIVE HONEY, HONEY!
The same goes for the honey. Save that organic, locally purchased honey for your morning tea. Use regular, store-bought, generic honey for this recipe.
Remember, Dear Reader, shortbread was born out of a time when ingredients were cheap and accessible. If you must use the organic honey and the natural nut butter, then the outcome may or not be the same. You’re assuming any and all responsibility! Ha!
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Peanut Butter – A paste or spread made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts, along with sugar and other additives. When baking, I always use regular peanut butter, not the expensive natural peanut butters or nut butters.
- Sugar – Sugar will caramelize when baked, which will help to brown cookies and cakes. In cookies, the sugar will help the dough to spread, and will create a crispness to the bottom of the cookie.
- Honey – When baking, I always use a generic brand of honey. We save our organic honey for tea! You can use any honey you choose, but unflavoured honey is always the best choice in recipes.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Sanding Sugar – Coarse sugar, sometimes referred to as sanding sugar, is used sometimes for decorative purposes. It is sometimes called pearl sugar or coarse baking sugar.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
In some cases, we want more than a cookie. That’s why I have two more Christmas-themed collections you might want to consider. The first, is my 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas, and the second is my 12 Biscotti of Christmas. Click on the image below to see each collection all on one page with links to each recipe!
STORING, PACKAGING, AND FREEZING
These cookies will stay fresh for about 3-5 days in a covered container and in a cool place. But, if you plan to freeze these cookies, use a food-safe container that can be frozen. You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. (I use these quite often when freezing baked goods.) I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that cookie freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. They will come out of the freezer looking just like they did when you put them in there. Once you thaw them, they will taste just as fresh as the day you first made them. When thawing, place the cookies onto a wire cooling rack in a single layer. Wait about 20 minutes or so and they will be perfectly thawed and ready to devour!
It’s only Day 2 of Lord Byron’s 24 Cookies of Christmas – Volume 2! A part of me still cannot believe that I have taken on this project again. Yet, at the same time, a bigger part of me cannot wait to show you tomorrow’s cookie recipe! Let me hear from you; follow along with me and let me know what you think. I’ll try my best to respond to all messages in a timely manner!
Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies
- 2/3 cups butter, softened
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, add the butter and the peanut butter, and melt together over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Add the honey and the sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated into the dough.
- Portion the cookie dough into 2 tablespoon portions. Roll into balls and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space around each cookie.
- With the back of a fork, press a cross pattern into each cookie, flattening the dough to roughly 3/8 of an inch.
- Top each cookie with a scant sprinkle of sanding sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.