Cookie lovers and peanut butter lovers unite to celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie Day on June 12! The key ingredients of peanut butter cookies are peanut butter, sugar, and eggs — and in their simplest form, that’s all that you’ll need. Peanut butter cookies are incredibly easy to make, and if you’re a peanut butter lover, they always hit the spot. Read on for more ways to celebrate one of the most popular cookies ever!
History of National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
We don’t know for sure when peanuts were first harvested, but evidence dating back 3,500 years ago indicates that ancient Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings. The peanut likely originated somewhere around modern-day Peru or Brazil, potentially growing as far north as Mexico, and was spread by European explorers. These Europeans likely brought peanuts to Africa and Asia, and it was eventually Africans who brought peanuts to North America in the 1700s.
In America, and particularly the South, peanut production took off. It was around the 1800s that peanuts became a commercial crop in the U.S., and demand for the product was high. Not only were they a great food, but they could also be used as oil or as a cocoa substitute. They were, however, challenging to raise and harvest, and mostly were only consumed by farm animals or those in poverty. That is until Union soldiers decided they liked them and found they were high in protein.
The early 1900s saw the destruction of cotton crops at the hands of the boll weevil, which threatened the livelihood of many farmers. Dr. George Washington Carver, a well-known scientist at the time, suggested many plantations switch to planting peanuts, which caused peanuts to be almost as popular of a crop as cotton in the South.
Determining who invented peanut butter, however, is a different beast. There’s evidence that the ancient Incas ground peanuts to make a primitive sort of peanut butter, though Dr. John Harvey Kellog is credited with creating the first peanut butter in the United States in 1895. There’s also some credit given for the invention of peanut butter to a physician from Saint Louis, who needed a way for his patients who were too old or sick to chew meat to get protein. After peanut butter’s introduction at the World’s Fair in 1904, however, it took off.
Dr. George Washington Carver included a recipe for peanut butter in his 1916 book on growing peanuts and preparing them to be eaten, and in 1922 Joseph Rosefield improved on the recipe by developing a way to prevent peanut oil from separating from the solids. Peanut butter had hit stores in 1920, and already peanut butter cookies were being homemade across America. In 1932, the first recipe for peanut butter cookies that featured the decoration with forks on top was printed in “The Schenectady Gazette,” and the peanut butter cookie had become the classic treat we know today.