The Truth About the Classic Peanut Butter Cookie Hatch Pattern

Neither Schenectady’s Gazette nor Pillsbury’s Recipes explained why the fork marks were necessary when making peanut butter cookies, but that didn’t stop people from blindly following the step (via Grub Americana). This led The New York Times to seek answers from readers in 1979 and publish the results in an article titled “The Fork and the Cookie”. Proposed answers included speculation that the peanut butter in cookie dough prevents it from spreading like other types of cookies would, while others suggested that the fork marks allow the surface to crisp better.

The Times ended up settling for a much simpler explanation: the pattern differentiates them from the chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar. However, Betty Crocker argues otherwise. The bakery company shared that the reason had to do with the consistency of the dough. Because peanut butter cookie dough is dense, using a fork helps flatten it into the ideal shape and thickness, allowing it to bake evenly. Whether you trust this explanation or the one offered by The New York Times, it seems like it’s worth adding the hatches either way. It looks good, and it will make a tastier cookie.

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