Making these Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies is a Halloween tradition from my childhood.
The recipe was clipped (about a million years ago) from a Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer. I remember the recipe was called, “Peanutty Pumpkin Cookies,” and employed the use of a one pound coffee tin lid as the large cookie cutter. It was probably a 5″ circle; once cut, we would then individually carve out each stem and a piece of the bottom to make the circle resemble a pumpkin. (Seriously…were there really no pumpkin cookie cutters back then? Maybe none large enough for the job…)
Once these jumbo sized cookies were baked, we gathered around the table to frost them with a simple powdered sugar icing. Then, came the good part, because these weren’t your average sugar cookie cut out, but a peanut butter cookie cut out. We used melted chocolate to make the faces, giving each cookie its own delicious personality.
The cookies are full of peanut butter flavor and, depending upon how thin you roll them and how long you bake them, a nice soft cookie. You don’t often see iced peanut butter cookies, but the icing works so well here. It adds a nice creamy sweetness to the slight saltiness of the peanut butter. It also helps keep the cookie soft. Of course, the chocolate is a perfect partner as well, and we use semi sweet or dark to balance the sweetness of the icing.
We rekindled this tradition with my own family when the kids were small. We used to set aside a day for pumpkin cookies and then we would carve our pumpkins. Now that they’re a bit older, they invite their friends over for cookie decorating and leaf pile jumping. I must mention, as fun as these cookies are to make and decorate, they are not just another pretty iced cookie meant for kid consumption. If you love peanut butter cookies, you will definitely love these. They are delicious! Every time we make them, I wonder why we only make them once a year. I think it’s time to change that…
I use smaller, albeit ready made, modern pumpkin and other cookie cutters for this recipe. If you want to go jumbo or be retro, all you need is the lid from a one pound can of coffee, a sharp knife to cut out a stem and shape the pumpkin, and you’re in business.
Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies. This is one deliciously sweet tradition.
Click on the images below for some decorating inspiration from past years…