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I was watching a video recipe about peanut butter cookies. The maker mentioned that you shouldn't use all natural peanut butter for making those cookies, because the oils would make your dough split. You should use the other kind (I have no idea what this is).

Is this true?

My peanut butter contains these ingredients: peanuts, vegetable oil, vegetable fat, salt. I'm assuming this isn't 100% natural peanut butter? Is it only natural peanut butter if it contains only peanuts?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Peanut butters that are not "all natural" include cheaper oils along with sugar and emulsifiers to keep the mixture from separating and to make it lighter and smoother.

That lack of emulsifiers could make a huge difference but it depends a lot on the recipe.

In a normal cookie dough fat is creamed with sugar and eggs are beaten in one at a time which adds a ton of emulsification power from the lecithin in the yolks.

Additionally- the fat will bind with the flour and be baked into the cookies. Like Jefromi- I have not had any problem with the fat from natural peanut butter separating out after baking.

If you made a cookie dough and either left out the yolks or didn't beat it well enough to properly emulsify- and then let the batter sit out for a while before baking I would fully expect the peanut oil to separate.

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I've made peanut butter cookies with various "all natural" peanut butters, containing no extra oil/fat, just peanuts and possibly salt. They didn't split. I suppose the recipe you're looking at could be somehow different but it seems really unlikely. I haven't even seen splitting in cooked sauces using these kinds of peanut butter, along with plenty of other liquid.

As far as I know, the main thing meant by "all natural" is that it doesn't contain other oils like yours does; those are generally used to replace some of the peanut oil, so that it doesn't separate while in the jar. But separating over a long period of time in the jar is a far cry from splitting in cookie dough where it's mixed with plenty of other ingredients, and probably sits around for a few hours at most before baking.

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