Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Easy peanut butter cookies recipe

The peanut butter cookies recipe your family will love!

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I’m the cookie maker in my family. Each Christmas season, I am the one in charge of making the cookies for our family. I’ve tried various recipes for different types of cookies. Some are great; others not so much. This peanut butter cookies recipe is one that has been around for a couple of decades because it is so easy and delicious!

After my toffee cookies, these peanut butter cookies are my most requested cookies from my family. Just like with my toffee cookies, the state of the butter when making the cookie dough makes all the difference.

I will also give you a heads up that this is a smaller cookie recipe that makes about 2 dozen cookies. Usually I double it when we are sharing these cookies with others.

Be sure to plan just a bit ahead with this peanut butter cookies recipe because the dough needs to chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before baking. (You can bake them without the chill time, they will just be a bit stickier as you are trying to shape them into balls and flatten them.)

Like with most cookie recipes, this one begins with creaming the sugars and butter. My family likes these peanut butter cookies a bit on the flat side that are soft inside with a slight crunch on the outside. In order to get that consistency, the butter should be almost all melted, instead of just softened. If you like thicker, fluffier cookies, then only soften your butter instead.

For cookies a bit thinner with a slight crunch outside and soft inside, almost melt your butter instead of just softening it.

Once your butter is ready, add in the sugar and brown sugar. Mix the butter and sugars together until well combined (creamed). You can do this by hand or with a mixer.

When it is all combined, stir in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Stir or beat until smooth. For measuring the peanut butter, my favorite tool is a cylindrical measuring cup because then you can just push out the peanut butter and not have to try and get it out of your regular measuring cup or scoop.

In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Stick the dough in the fridge and let it chill for at least one hour. (I have chilled it overnight and even frozen this dough and thawed it a bit as well.) After it’s chilled, the dough will look something like this:

Shape the chilled peanut butter cookie dough into about 1-inch balls. Put them a couple inched apart on an un-greased baking sheet. I use parchment paper because it makes for easy clean-up!

Flatten each ball by crisscrossing the cookie with the tines of a fork that have been dipped in sugar.

Bake at 325-degrees for 10-12 minutes until the peanut butter cookies are a bit darker and set.

Let them cool for 1-2 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. The peanut butter cookies will come out a bit “poofy” and settle after just a minute or two. Using a cooling rack helps these cookies get their slightly crispy outside. Store flat in a container for the best results. These peanut butter cookies are so soft inside, that they break apart easily if stored in a zip-top plastic bag.

Easy peanut butter cookies recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine mostly melted (softened if you like your cookies thicker and fluffier)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Additional sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 325-degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.
  • Add the peanut butter, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add gradually to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. (You can skip this step if you are short on time, just know that it will make the dough stickier to work with.)
  • Shape the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2-inches apart on an un-greased baking sheet.
  • Flatten each ball by crisscrossing it with the tines of a fork dipper in sugar.
  • Bake at 325-degrees for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden.
  • Remove and cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes (until the "poofiness" is gone) before placing the cookies on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. (The cooling rack helps these peanut butter cookies maintain a bit of a crunch on the outside.)
  • Store flat in a sealed container.

The unexpected safe space for introverted children

Helping introverted children find their safe place to regroup might be even easier than you expect!

Growing up as an introverted child, I felt like I was a bit just odd. I wasn’t around all that many other introverted children. As an adult I learned the difference between being an introvert (we refuel our energy solo) and an extrovert (they refuel their energy with others). Suddenly, I made a bit more sense and, quite frankly, didn’t feel so weird.

These days, I can more easily identify my needs better for when I need downtime. I recognize when I feel antsy and irritated because I need some quiet and space to myself.

I had a pretty good handle on my introverted self. And then we decided to start our family. I wondered how I’d manage the needs of an extroverted child without completely draining myself. I wondered if I’d be able to teach an introverted child how to embrace their introversion and find their place in the world.

My extroverted child — the toddler years

When my daughter was born 11 years ago, she was our first child. We were so excited for her arrival. I remember looking into her eyes and wondering what she was going to be like.

It wasn’t long before her personality started emerging. Before she turned 1, she was vocal. She started speaking early and plainly, but even before she used actual words, she babbled pretty much all the time. I used to joke that she’d talk herself awake and asleep — and that was true!

When we’d go to the grocery store, she’d wave at everyone who waved at her. As we’d go get the mail, she’d happily get the attention of our neighbor and chat. It didn’t take me long to realize that she loved interacting with other people.

We hit up library story time once a week for a couple of years so she could hang out with some other kiddos. She didn’t always want to play with the kids, but she liked being around them.

The other thing we noticed about our daughter early on is that she is pretty even-keeled. Of course she got upset about things and wasn’t happy all the time, but she was so verbal that we could talk about things with her to keep her frustration to a minimum. She was neither overly happy nor overly unhappy.

My introverted child — the toddler years

Then my son was born three years later. He started off a bit more challenging right away. In fact, he was born not breathing and was “Code Pink” (the infant version of “Code Blue”). He spent about 20 minutes needing help to breathe before he breathed on his own.

But as he grew, we noticed right away that he had big feelings. He was happy or he was sad. The kiddo didn’t have much middle ground. He definitely was more physically attached to us. Our son loves snuggles.

He was also an early talker. While he was a friendly toddler as well, he was also a bit more laidback about it than his sister. He seemed fearless to us in some ways because he wasn’t nearly as cautious as his sister when it came to trying things.

We learned that whatever he did, he’d do full force and woe to anyone or anything who tried to stop him. He liked things like library story time enough but he wasn’t as excited about them as our daughter was.

My extroverted child — the school years

After a couple of years of part-time nursery school, my daughter started kindergarten with nary a fear. She was so excited and happily waved good-bye to us on the first day.

She soon made new friends. And we were careful to talk with her about her leadership skills so that she wouldn’t be too “bossy!” Her ideal birthday party was inviting everyone she could. I had to limit her to what was manageable or she would have invited all 44 kids in her grade.

She has remained this way. These days she prefers birthday parties with a few close friends to spend the night. But I’m pretty sure she’d invite even more if I agreed.

I have never had to wonder if she’d speak up for herself or talk during class. She can happily chat with adults and kids anywhere she goes. She has no qualms about talking to people and I’ve seen her work to include quieter classmates as well.

When I went on a field trip with her last year, she opted to sit with her friends on the bus instead of with me (with my blessing). She’s happiest right now when she’s on her tablet video-chatting with friends. During this time of isolation, we have continued to check in with her and help her connect safely when she can. We are so thankful for video chatting!

My little extrovert happily messages and chats with her teachers. She thrives and re-energizes with others.

My introverted child — the school years

When my son started kindergarten (again after two years of part-time nursery school), it was a bit different. While he didn’t have a complete meltdown as his dad and I left the classroom on day one, I saw tears spring to his eyes briefly as he waved good-bye.

For the first week of school, he came home drained and sad for having been away from me all day. He continues to have big feelings. He is happy or sad.

When I have gone on field trips with him, he most enjoys being with me as much as possible. Even when I suggest he sit with a friend, he still picks me.

At home, he is chatty and plays. He has an exceptionally good imagination and can easily give me long explanations of plans he comes up with to solve pretty much any problem someone could have.

He likes tagging along with his sister when we are out. Before the pandemic, he was happiest when he got to be with her like during children’s church. He would often pick hanging out with her over hanging out with other children.

For his most recent birthday turning 7 (pre-pandemic), he asked only for his three best friends to have a party with. He found the idea of inviting the entire class or too many extra people appalling.

Yet on the playground after school, he plays with a variety of classmates and comes up with some great imaginary play ideas as well.

I had a couple of people tell me my son was quiet and was surprised at first. I didn’t see that side of him like his Sunday School teacher and ninja zone teacher did.

It wasn’t until we started virtual schooling that I realized how quiet he is. The chatty kid I know is not so chatty in group settings. Unlike my daughter, he doesn’t strike up conversations with anyone and everyone. But when he is in smaller group meetings for school, he is more inclined to speak up.

When we are in the car, especially just the two of us, he will ride quietly for a couple of minutes and then we will have deep discussions about things he’s thinking about. He has some serious ponderings for a little dude!

I have realized that my son is an introvert like I am. I can’t say for sure he will always be this way, but from what I’m seeing right now, he is skewing much more introvert than extrovert. He loves when we can just stay home and not go places. (Good thing since we are staying socially isolated!)

The pandemic isolation hasn’t bothered him as much as it has my daughter. He’s enjoyed some video chats with his friends, but he is more reserved about chatting and doesn’t do it very often. (And I also know that his age and gender probably play a role as well.)

Finding my introverted child’s safe place

Having my kiddos home again all the time during the pandemic has given me even more insights into them and their temperaments. And I’ve been thinking about it.

As an introvert, I understand the need for a safe space. While I often think of my home as my safe and happy place, the truth is anywhere I am either alone or with those closest to me (my husband, children and parents) is my safe place.

I shared once about how being inside a tent in the middle of a busy theme park automatically put me at ease. I could breathe easier knowing that I was away from strangers.

How to help your introverted child find their safe space

I’ve wondered about my son’s safe place. Of course I think he feels safe at home overall, but I think his safe “place” is actually me. He is happiest and most content when we are together.

In fact, at first I thought he was an extrovert because at home he much prefers being with his dad, sister or me than being alone. That didn’t seem very introverted to me as an adult when I find myself craving alone time. And then I thought about it some more.

I realized I felt the same way growing up. My mom was my safe place. When we were out somewhere with lots of people or even just a few people I didn’t know, I’d gravitate toward her. I remember her lying in bed with me some nights when I was really young because that’s what made me feel safest and happiest.

I’ve seen other introverted kids act the same way. During uncomfortable situations for them (which can just be a noisy, busy atmosphere), they gravitate to a parent or trusted adult.

You are the safe space for your introverted child

So that leaves me thinking that one of our roles as parents of an introverted child is to be their safe space. Behavior that may come off as clingy may really just be your overwhelmed introverted child seeking consolation.

One of the things I established with my son a couple of years ago (before I really knew whether he was even an introvert) is that he can always ask me for alone time when we are out places. He struggles with big emotions; sometimes he needs to regroup. In talking with him about it, I realized that he regroups best with me.

Whenever he starts to feel overwhelmed, upset or like nobody is listening to him during times we are with other people — whether in a large group or small — he knows he can ask for one-on-one time and I will make it happen. We may make a trip to the restroom or go into another room if we are at someone’s house. But, he can trust that when he’s overwhelmed, I’ll be his safe space wherever we are.

So far every single time, after a couple minutes of talking privately together he has happily resumed the activity. It’s a strategy that works for him right now — and that definitely works for me!

I’ll keep learning as I go through phases of parenting how to best meet the needs of my extrovert and my introvert. Of course as two different people, my kids aren’t identical in what they need. With two opposite temperaments, those needs may be very different sometimes. My job is to keep paying attention and tweaking strategies to help them most.

The best slow cooker potato soup

This easy Crock Pot potato soup is fast, easy and delicious!

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

I love potatoes cooked in any form: baked, fried, scalloped, boiled and mashed. So it makes sense that potato soup is my favorite kind of soup. I like others, sure, but potato soup is the best.

I’ve been making this slow cooker potato soup for a few years and it quickly became a favorite in our family. My daughter, in particular, enjoys it. I love that in a matter of about five minutes, I can put ingredients in my Crock Pot at lunchtime and have dinner ready to go!

It sounds too good to be true, but thanks to the use of frozen hashbrowns, this soup comes together quickly and easily. It serves six people and can easily be doubled if your slow cooker is large enough (at least 6 quarts) and you have a crowd to feed.

I use a disposable slow cooker liner to make even clean-up easy! If you haven’t tried them, you ought to. They save a lot of time and elbow grease on so many slow cooker recipes.

Once your slow cooker is ready to go, open the back of frozen hashbrowns and dump them in. I usually use the Southern style, which are small cubes of potatoes.

Frozen hashbrowns makes this soup so easy!

Next, you add in 28 ounces of chicken broth, which you can get in two 14-ounce cans or measure out 3-1/2 cups from a box of chicken broth. I usually use low sodium, but I’ve also used regular chicken broth. It tastes fine both ways.

Along with the chicken broth, add in a can of cream of potato soup. If your grocery store is out of it, you can substitute cream of chicken soup with no issue. Top it off with some black pepper, a bit of onion powder if desired and stir.

All stirred and ready to cook.

Put the lid on, and cook it on low for five hours. I usually stir once an hour or every other hour, but it’s not all that necessary.

Around hour four, soften the cream cheese. I usually get it to the point of being almost completely melted. Stir it into the soup and continue to cook on low for another 45 minutes to an hour.

The finished soup in the slow cooker. It’s so creamy!

Serve it up topped with shredded cheese and bacon bits. You can add scallions or green onion if you’d like as well. We love to have a total carb fest and eat it with french bread!

My family enjoys the crunch from bacon bits, but you could definitely use cooked bacon as well.

If you do have leftovers, just store them in the fridge. This soup reheats incredibly well. My daughter always wants to have leftovers for lunch. My mom has frozen it before with good luck, but I’ve never had enough left that my daughter would let me think of doing that!

The best slow cooker potato soup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 30 oz. bag frozen hash-brown potatoes (I use the squared, southern style)
  • 2 14 oz. cans chicken broth (regular or low-sodium)
  • 1 10.75 oz. can cream of potato soup
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder if desired
  • 1 8 oz. block cream cheese (very softened)
  • Chopped scallions green onion, if desired

Instructions
 

  • In a slow cooker, combine potatoes, broth, soup and pepper. (Honestly, I don’t usually measure the pepper. I just do a few turns on the pepper grinder and call it good.) Add a dash of onion powder, if desired.
  • Cover, and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Stir in cream cheese, cook another 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until combined.
  • Top each bowl with shredded cheese and bacon bits (or crispy bacon). Add some chopped scallions, if desired. Enjoy!