Appalachia Appalachian Food

Lydia Ledbetter’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Old fashioned peanut butter cookies

I hardly ever make Peanut Butter Cookies. I like them I just don’t make them often. After Pap’s accident we had to help Granny do some major re-arranging to make it possible for Pap’s wheel chair and walker to be able to move freely about the house.

Granny is a real pack rat, but she amazingly let us help her dispose of many many things. As we sorted and cleaned I came across Volume I and II of Recipes, Remedies & Rumors published by the Cades Cove Preservation Association. The Deer Hunter and I had gifted Granny the cookbooks back at Christmas of 2004-I had even signed them. Good thing I did or I would never have even remembered where they came from. Granny twisted my arm and insisted I take both books back. Actually since she was storing them in the bottom of a box at the back of a closet I suggested I take them back and she readily agreed.

When my recent hankering for peanut butter cookies hit I checked both volumes of the cookbooks out to see if they had a recipe. They had several. But I chose Lydia Buchanan Ledbetter’s recipe.

Peanut butter cookie recipe from cades cove

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 self rising flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut butter cookies

Beat shortening and peanut butter until thoroughly mixed.

Add both sugars and mix well.

Add egg; mix well.

In a separate bowl mix flour, soda, salt, and baking powder together.

Add flour to peanut butter sugar mixture and mix well.

Dough will be stiff.

Easy recipe for peanut butter cookies

Pinch off a small piece of dough and roll into a small ball. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and mash each ball slight with the tines of a fork. I rolled my dough pieces around in a bowl of sugar before I placed them on the cookie sheet because I like the added crunch of sugar.

Homemade peanut butter cookies

You can make a cross hatch pattern with the fork like I did if you want to go to the trouble. Bake cookies in a 425 oven for as long as it takes-the time depends on how your oven cooks and the size of your cookies. My oven took 6 minutes and my cookies were small. It seems peanut butter cookies are easy to burn-at least for me-so keep your eye on them until you figure out how long your oven takes.

Peanut butter cookie recipe from appalachia

You can make the dough ahead and keep it in the frig for when you need it. The cookies are so good! Come back by in a day or so and I’ll share some of the Ledbetter history from the cookbook.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    April 24, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I collect, and use, old cookbooks. The familar recipes seem to comfort me. My late mother in law made 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies for my children years ago. Unfortunately she had Alzheimer’s disease and could not remember the recipe, so I began to try and duplicate it. After several failed attempts, I finally got it right. 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 egg. Mix well, roll into quarter sized balls, place on lightly greased baking sheet, criss cross with fork, bake at 350° about 10 -12 minutes (till brown around the edges). My grandchildren love to make these with me. They are making cookies and I am making memories for my golden years.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Almost all grandmars are like that – they keep old stuff because they know that someday someone in the family would need them 🙂
    The cookies look delicious. I’ll definitely try that soon! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim Stalcup
    September 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I use the same recipe that Lue V. mentioned. My mom always made them that way and you wouldn’t think it works but those simple 3 ingredients do make some good cookies. Allow them to cool for a few minutes & they’ll hold together well.

  • Reply
    June 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Tamela-Thank you for the comments! I use more self-rising flour than plain so I don’t have a problem in letting it get old-lol it seems like I can never have enough. But you’re right in having a little of this or that left! Sometimes if its a small amount of a specialty flour I throw it into a batch of bread made in the bread machine. If you have freezer space you can keep your flours in there to prevent them from going bad. But other than that I don’t really have any ideas. Hmmm maybe I need to put your question the Blind Pig readers : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    June 22, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I’m a chocolate chip cookie fan myself, but I like Peanut Butter cookies too. Bro Tom found a recipe on the back of a peanut butter jar a few years back, only 4-5 ingredients (peanut butter, egg, flour, sugar, vanilla I think), and that’s what we usually make, either with creamy or chunky, whatever we have in the cupboard. And we always roll ours in sugar before flattening and baking them too. Adds such a nice sweet crunch to them.
    Praying Pap is steadily mending, and that Granny isn’t worrying or running herself ragged to care for him. Caregiving can be so much more difficult if one is aged.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Peanut butter cookies are not my favorite cookie but I tasted one of these Sunday and it was very nice.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Just wondering: do you keep self-rising flour around all the time? With limited space, it’s a consternation to wind up with a couple of handfuls of bread flour, cake flour, whole wheat flour,rye flour, self-rising flour,and rice flour to store in addition to my all-purpose flour. . . . . then there’s the corn meal, oat meal, etc . . . and don’t forget the sugars! What are your storage and “use-’em-up” secrets?
    P.S. – I love peanut butter cookies. The secret is to take them out of the oven when you think they just need a little more time in the oven 😉

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Those Ledbetter Peanut Butter
    Cookies look nice. I’ve never made ’em from scratch, mine comes from a Betty Crocker pouch, but they’re good too. You’re right, it sure
    don’t take long for ’em to bake so they don’t taste burnt.
    A long time ago, I remember having Peanut Butter Cookies in
    school. They were thicker and
    much bigger, but so good, especially with a carton of milk.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    June 22, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Yum, yum, my grands need these cookies really soon. And, so do I. The cookbooks you mention will be added to my search list. I always check for them at yard sales and the like. The books hold buried treasures and evoke memories of the past. One of the very best is The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery. After borrowing a copy from the library, I later bought one from a bookstore in Asheville. Another fave is White Trash Cooking written by the late Ernest Matthew Mickler.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Yummy! I really like peanut butter cookies second only to oatmeal ones. Then comes sugar cookies. Thanks for the recipe. Happy munching day!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 22, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I’m not so much of a cook, but parts of what you wrote are so familiar. My Grandma had silverware still in the boxes. Turned out it was a gift from one of her grandsons. She was ‘saving’ it to gzive back to him when he married.
    My Mom gave back several gifts to the giver. I’m not sure what the lesson is, but seems we reach a place where we really don’t need anything. (I’m there.) But we get gifts from those who haven’t got there yet. And they struggle with ‘what do you get for someone who has everything’.
    It took me a long time to learn it was a high compliment if someone re-gifted something one gave them because it meant they treasured it enough to want to share it. They got joy from passing it on, so the gift was doubled. In a way, that is what you are doing.
    It’s a marvel. Hope ‘all ya’all’ have a blessed day. You all help make mine.

  • Reply
    Lue VanWinkle
    June 22, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I don’t like peanut butter cookies because they always have a burnt taste to me, but my niece uses a recipe that I do like.
    Peanut Butter cookies
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    Mix and drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet, bake 350 for about 11 min. Just watch careful, they still look uncooked when you take them out.
    This taste more like fudge than a cookie. It is good.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 22, 2015 at 8:03 am

    My Mother made peanut butter cookies often. They were one of my Father’s favorite. I remember how they just melted in your mouth.
    I will try this recipe.

  • Leave a Reply