Monday 9 January 2012

Battle of the Peanut Butter Cookies: Cakers vs. Mennonites

I recently came across two peanut butter cookie recipes. One was a caker recipe using white cake mix. The other was a "top secret" Mennonite recipe calling for Bisquick. That got me wondering. In the ultimate PB cookie throwdown, which of these cookies would reign supreme?

I made both and conducted taste tests among my colleagues. In the end, it all came down to texture. The cake mix cookie was crisp whereas the Mennonite cookie was soft. Suffice to say, the Mennonite cookie won by a landslide. (See what happens when you have God on your side?)  Personally, my favourite was the crispier cookie. Then again, I'm a caker. Go figure.

I’m posting both recipes so you can try both and then wonder why, like me, you’re having to spray your legs with PAM every morning to get on your Orange Tab Levi’s.

Peanut Butter Cookies The Cake Mix Way
1 large package white cake mix
½ cup oil
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients. Scrape from teaspoon onto ungreased sheet. Flatten with fork. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes. Yields approximately 5 dozen cookies.

Source: High Park Elementary School Cookbook

Mennonite Peanut Butter Cookie
2 cups Bisquick
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar, place on a baking sheet and gently flatten with a fork. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes only. Makes about 36 cookies.

Source: Apparently, this is a “top secret” recipe, so I can’t reveal the source. Those Mennonites don’t like their recipes getting out into the world, especially if it's into the hands of a caker. Needless to say, I’m checking over my shoulder these days. But to the person who passed it along - thanks!


  1. Hmmm. A friend of mine made Amish peanut butter cookies, which I thought would be the same as your Mennonite cookies, but no. The Amish ones were very crisp (and frankly, I didn't care for 'em. I like them chewy.)
    I'm going to have to try your Mennonite cookies, because I'm all about the Bisquick.
    And really, doesn't the mere presence of Bisquick in a recipe qualify it as Caker?

  2. As one of the tasters, I'd recommend MORE Peanut butter in either recipe. Mmmmmmm peanuts...

  3. Veg-o-matic: As far as I'm concerned, the presence of Bisquick (not to mention the sweetened condensed milk) makes the Mennonite recipe suspiciously caker. And here I thought a Mennonite recipe would call for freshly churned butter.

    Bluerhondda: I agree. Both recipes could've used a little more "oomph" in the PB department. Might I suggest adding a layer of PB to both cookies and making a cookie sandwich? Just a thought.

  4. Just made the "cake mix" version. About two thirds of the way through baking the batch, I got the brilliant idea to add milk chocolate chips....uh-oh.
    Off to buy more Pam (and not for my cookie sheets)

    1. Strawprincess, you should know that every time milk chocolate enters the picture, it always ends up with Pamming your legs to get your pants on.

  5. I'm an unashamed food label suggested recipe user, and as such my go to for peanut butter cookies comes from the geniuses at kraft.

    1 cup kraft smooth peanut butter
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg

    Heat oven to 325°F.
    Mix all ingredients with large spoon until well blended.
    Roll into 24 balls; place, 4 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten with fork.
    Bake 20 min. or until lightly browned.

    3 ingredients, 0 effort, and kids like making them too.


    1. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Julie. Anything with 0 effort is a-ok in my book. I've seen this recipe before but can't figure out how it works. Doesn't it need to have flour or Bisquick or something powdery at least? Oh, well. Guess it's best not to ask. Just eat.

  6. I'm not entirely sure why it works (Oven elves? Magic? Some sort of peanut butter based anomaly in space time?) But I've always figured it had much to do with the egg.

    Whatever the reason, the end result is chewy, sugary peanut butter goodness (mind you I'm obviously easily impressed) and if you're feeling extra fancy you can toss a little vanilla extract in too.

    Just be sure not to overbake, because nobody likes crunchy burnt peanut butter hockey pucks.