Monday, June 15, 2015

The History of the Peanut Butter Cookie

The First Peanut Butter Cookie
(Peanut Cookie) Recipe Below
As we have all heard, George Washington Carver (1864-1943), an American agricultural extension educator, from Alabama's Tuskegee Institute, was the most well known promoter of the peanut as a replacement for the cotton crop, which had been heavily damaged by the boll weevil. He compiled 105 peanut recipes from various cookbooks, agricultural bulletins and other sources. In his 1916 Research Bulletin called How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption, he included three recipes for peanut cookies calling for crushed/chopped peanuts as an ingredient. It was not until the early 1920s that peanut butter was listed as an ingredient in the cookies.
The first to patent peanut butter was Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884. John Harvey Kellogg later patented a "Process of Preparing Nut Meal" in 1895 and served peanut butter to the patients at his Battle Creek Sanitarium.
The first peanut butter cookies recipe, by Mrs. Rorer’s New Cook Book (1902, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), suggested rolled peanut butter ball. Later a recipe for patterned Peanut Butter ball, which instructs the cook to roll the dough into balls and press them down with the tines of a fork, was published in 1933 edition of Pillsbury's Balanced Recipes.
The New England Kitchen Magazine (Vol. 3 No. 4, July 1895, pp 184-185) printed an article titled “An American Delicacy”. It gave a short history of the early use of peanuts and popular uses, but peanut butter was not mentioned. The idea of nut butter, peanut butter being one of the various nuts used to make nut butter had emerged about ten years earlier but was not yet publicly available. Nut butter was used in commercial candy making. What was found in the article was a recipe that was the precursor of the Peanut Butter Cookie.
The 1895 recipe is, as follows:
Peanut Cookies
1 tablespoon of butter
Pound or chop one cupful of peanuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt.
Mix the ingredients, and bake at 350 F. until golden brown.
The ingredient list with the exception of a higher amount of peanuts is similar to the early peanut cookies which used peanut butter. The article listed a U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet Farmers Bulletin, No. 25 and Miss Juliet Corson as two early contributors to uses of peanuts. So it is unknown who developed the “Peanut Cookies” recipe listed in the New England Kitchen Magazine article.

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