This peanut butter sandies recipe was published in the NYTimes and mimics the obscenely delectable and famous peanut butter cookies at City Bakery in Manhattan. As NYTimes reporter Julia Moskin wrote, the cookies contain no leavener and, as such, don’t spread or rise in the oven. What you do end up with are irresistible mounds of crumbly, sweet, salty, peanut buttery goodness. Enough said.Julia Moskin

Rows of peanut butter sandies dough balls with a cookie scoop placing another dough ball on the surface.

Peanut Butter Sandies

4.83 / 17 votes
This peanut butter sandies recipe turns out peanut butter cookies just like the ones sold at City Bakery in New York City and published in the NYTimes. Tender, salty, melt-in-your-mouth and, as one of our testers deadpanned, “Dangerously good.”
David Leite
Servings72 servings
Calories115 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 1/4 cups peanut butter, creamy or chunky, it matters not
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and position the oven rack in the center position. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and salt until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes.
  • Add the peanut butter and eggs and mix well. Add the flour and mix just until well combined.
  • Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough (2 to 3 teaspoons per cookie) onto the baking sheets, leaving a 1-inch space between them. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  • Bake until golden, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the size. Slide the parchment paper and the cookies onto a wire rack and let cool. The cookies will be very crumbly, especially when warm.
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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 115 kcalCarbohydrates: 12 gProtein: 3 gFat: 7 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 12 mgSodium: 72 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Kim Severson | Julia Moskin. Photo © 2012 Evan Sung. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I absolutely LOVED these peanut butter cookies! I loved them so much that shortly after making them, I had to pack up the majority of them and take them to a friend’s house because I clearly couldn’t be trusted to be alone with them in the house! The texture of this cookie was perfect, a true “sandy” texture, and they were so soft and had a wonderful peanut buttery taste.

I used creamy peanut butter. I loved the addition of the salt—whatever you do, don’t leave off the salt! When you catch that bit of salt, it takes this cookie to another level. I never thought that I’d rave about a “simple” peanut butter cookie, but this one was truly special. My friend and her family all loved these cookies and couldn’t stop coming back for more! I had to quickly leave after the drop-off because I wanted to start back in on eating them!

These cookies are very fragile when you first take them out the oven. They really do need some time to cool on the parchment paper before moving them to the rack. This’ll definitely be one of the cookies in my Christmas gifts. I’ve already been thinking about other variations on this “sandies” cookie—I think next time I’ll make it with Nutella!

Dangerously good. If you’re even contemplating a diet, stay far, far away from these cookies. I followed the recipe exactly as written for the first batch, but couldn’t resist adding 2 cups of chocolate chips and a generous teaspoon of vanilla to the second batch. They were irresistible both ways. They’re very crumbly cookies and I’m glad the recipe warned that these don’t spread at all in the oven, otherwise I would’ve worried I did something wrong.

Try to make the scoops of dough as neat and tidy as possible before putting them in the oven because they’ll look exactly the same when you take them out (if you worry about such things). I used flaky sea salt, both in the cookie and to sprinkle on top, and it provided the perfect level of saltiness and crunch. This isn’t the place for table salt. I have a tendency to reduce the amount of sugar in baked goods by up to half but I don’t recommend doing that in this recipe because you need the stated amount of sugar to ensure the sandy texture. Plus, I didn’t find them to be overly sweet for my taste.

Oh, but I do love peanut butter and this recipe, my friends, doesn’t disappoint. When a recipe calls for as much peanut butter as flour, I know in my heart it’ll be a winner. These are delightfully rich, sinful, and pure yumminess, as all good cookies should be. The dough comes together quickly and easily, then a small ice cream scoop doles it out nicely onto the cookie sheet.

The cookies are a bit delicate when they’re just out of the oven, so a gentle touch really helps. I used a peanut butter that has nothing but peanuts because I find the ones with all the added sugar make things like this too sweet. I especially loved the finishing touch of salt, which lent a savory side to the sandies and made me smile.

We’re not huge fans of peanut butter cookies, but this cookie won us over. It has a great texture—firm but a little on the crumbly side—although we especially liked the taste. The peanut butter flavor was subtler than what’s found in most peanut butter cookies.

When I saw this recipe I jumped at it. I LOVE the peanut butter cookies at City Bakery. They’re so dense and creamy. Mmmm. I had high hopes for this recipe and they were pretty much realized.

I find that peanut butter cookies often seem greasy, but not these; they had a lovely smooth texture and a rich peanut buttery taste.

One caveat: Despite what the author wrote, my cookies did spread somewhat. Also, as long as I let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet I didn’t have any problem transferring them off the sheet.

This is one of the easiest, least stressful, and tastiest cookies I’ve ever made. The ingredients are few and basically what I have on hand in the house anyway. I also love the recipe’s ratios because it’s easy to halve and/or double as desired.

The cookies don’t spread out, as promised, which I appreciated because I could fit a larger amount on the sheet without worrying about the cookies melding together. The recipe only instructs one to scoop the dough onto the sheet but I rolled the dough into balls just so they were all even and this worked well.

I used creamy peanut butter but I imagine chunky would be just as tasty and give the cookie added texture. The light sprinkling of salt at the end is key! Yes, these cookies are crumbly, but in a wonderful and not unmanageable way. These are light and peanut buttery but very balanced and highly addictive. A new addition to my cookie jar for sure!

I love all things peanut butter so I was excited to try this recipe. When I read the description, however, I was a little worried. I like my cookies crisp on the outside and chewy in the center, yet these were described as “crumbly,” and me-no-likey crumbly. The end result is an ever so slightly crumbly yet tender mound of sweet and salty peanut buttery goodness.

I halved the recipe since we had a busy weekend ahead—or maybe it was because I didn’t want to devour 3 to 4 dozen cookies by myself, I can’t remember which—and used dark brown sugar instead of light because that was what I had. I’m an avid underbaker, but even still I left these babies in for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges were just a tad golden.

I really love the ease with which I can put this cookie dough together. It doesn’t take long and is practically mess-free. This could be pulled together quickly if I needed a treat or light snack for a surprise or last-minute visit from family or friends. This cookie has intense peanut butter flavor in a delicate bite-size nugget—the flavor is much bigger than the appearance of these little cookies would lead you to expect. They really are delicious, and I couldn’t stop at just one cookie.

After reading in the recipe that the cookies wouldn’t rise or spread, I lightly shaped them into flat rounds. This worked well and produced a cookie pretty enough for teatime, but packed with enough flavor for dessert. It was a knockout and I’ll be making them again.

Quick and easy to put together and so yummy! These delicious little peanut buttery-tasting cookies, as promised, came out to be sandy and light, not cloying like a mouthful of peanut butter.

The recipe says to scoop out 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter for each cookie to yield 2 to 3 dozen cookies. My cookies were a little over 2 teaspoons each and were perfect three-bite pieces. Mine also took 12 to 14 minutes to lightly brown. I used Skippy extra-chunky peanut butter.

So wonderful. Will make these again and again.

These peanut butter cookies are delicious and easy to make. It’s hard to eat just one. I usually use kosher salt in my baking, but since the recipe said to sprinkle salt on top, I chose sea salt with a finer grain. The salt adds something to the taste but I’m not sure that it’s necessary.

I used a small scoop that holds 3 teaspoons. I ended up with 86 cookies, which isn’t a bad thing since they’re delicious.

I have to confess that I’ve been on an almond butter kick lately, so that’s what I used in this peanut butter sandies recipe instead of peanut butter. I brought these cookies to my husband’s tennis match today and boy, did these cookies fly off the serving tray quickly! I loved the rich, buttery flavor of these cookies combined with their sandy quality. There’s the perfect amount of nut butter to flour in my opinion. I like the salty-sweet combo achieved by sprinkling the tops of the cookies with a bit of salt. Overall, these addictive and tasty treats were a big hit! Next time I’ll be sure and try them with peanut butter as recommended. The only comment I have on the recipe itself is that they actually took 15 minutes to bake until they were golden. After checking them at 10 minutes, they were still pretty soft in texture.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is what brought me to your site and has been a special cookie ever since! I love the shape of these cookies versus the standard fork stamped peanut butter cookie and added the chocolate drizzle to dress them up even more. Thank you for this spectacular recipe 🙂

    1. Lily. I love the drizzle of chocolate! I’ve made them with chocolate chips, but never a drizzle. Great idea.