If you love peanut butter cookies, this is your crust. It’s actually my peanut butter cookie recipe baked in a tart pan. It makes a sensational crust for the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Tart. If using a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, I usually have about 2 tablespoons of excess dough, which can be baked as cookies.–Rose Levy Beranbaum
LC Cookies Forevermore Note
Beware. Once you bake that scant amount of extra dough as tender, delicate cookies, you may be forever ruined as far as peanut butter cookies are concerned, relying only on this recipe forevermore. Not that this is a bad thing. Just don’t say we didn’t offer you fair warning.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
If using a food processor: In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugars for several minutes or until very fine. With the motor running, add the butter cubes. Add the peanut butter and process until smooth and creamy, about 10 seconds. With the motor running, add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated.
If using an electric mixer: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars until well mixed. Add the butter (you’ll need to softened it slightly) and peanut butter and beat for several minutes on medium-high speed until very smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Reduce sped to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Press the dough evenly into the tart pan. (It is a little more challenging, but faster and neater to roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thickness and 11 1/2 inches in diameter. Remove one piece of plastic, invert the dough into the tart pan, and gently ease the edge of the dough inside the pan so that the sharp top surface does not cut it off.) Use a piece of plastic wrap to gently and evenly press the dough into the pan, pressing it against the sides. If the dough softens and sticks, refrigerate it until the plastic wrap doesn’t stick. If the dough tears, simply press it together or use the scraps to press into any empty areas. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (You can wrap the unbaked crust well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)
Bake the tart shell, without weights, in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. It will puff at first and then settle down toward the end of baking. The sides will be soft but spring back when touched gently with a finger. Cool on a wire rack.
(Because I’m obsessive, I used a rocks glass that has a flat bottom and straight sides and press it into the crease of the crust to make a clean 90-degree angle.–David)