How To Achieve Perfectly Browned Peanut Butter Cookies

You may have heard the expression "you eat with your eyes first," and according to registered dietitian Dr. Amy Brown, this is actually a fact backed up by science (via Times Union). The way food looks influences the way it tastes. Take pies for example: The reason egg wash is brushed over the crust is entirely aesthetic. As Martha Stewart explains, pure egg wash makes it glossy and golden, egg wash mixed with water gives it a light gold finish, mixed with cream will make it shinier, and pure cream will make it matte. Though it tastes nearly identical regardless, it's still considered an important step, and the same principle applies to peanut butter cookies.

While the doneness of most cookies is determined by how browned they get in the oven, peanut butter cookies usually remain pretty pale. Self Proclaimed Foodie shares that peanut butter cookies tend to not look fully cooked even when they are, and for that reason, the dryness of the tops instead indicates when they're ready. If you want your peanut butter cookies to appear brown, therefore, you'll have to add certain ingredients to achieve that.

The type of sugar you use makes a big difference

If your peanut butter cookie recipe calls for white sugar, you can expect them to be lighter in color. According to Cook's Illustrated, dark brown sugar and honey will yield a more significantly browned cookie. It may be obvious why dark brown sugar will do this, being that it's a darker ingredient, but the honey works differently. Per Savor the Flavour, honey naturally browns a lot faster, and therefore will lead to a more browned cookie.

Increasing the baking soda on top of swapping the sugar can also help, My Recipes shares. Baking soda's main role in peanut butter cookies is to cause the dough to rise, but it also plays a major role in browning. To increase the browning, My Recipes recommends increasing the baking soda by up to half a teaspoon, increasing the temperature to 450 F, and adjusting the baking time. When you take your peanut butter cookies out of the oven, you'll find they look a lot more brown and toasty.