Cookies are made with different kinds of flavors. Each type is made a bit differently from the others in their baking processes. Peanut butter cookies are one of those cookies that have a unique feature. This uniqueness is the extra fork slash marks on the top of the surface of these cookies.

But many people do not know exactly why do peanut butter cookies have fork marks on top. It is done before they are thoroughly baked, so the entire cookies’ form or body has those fork marks on them. We will get right into finding out the reasons now!

Reasons Why Peanut Butter Cookies Have Fork Marks

Peanut butter cookies stand out just as much as chocolate chip cookies do in a bunch of other cookies. They are of a golden-brown color, just like peanut butter in general is.

These cookies carry a strong scent of peanut butter if you get close enough. But other than that, they are very distinguishable because of the fork designs on top. There are many potential reasons for this criss-cross fork mark on the peanut butter cookies, and some of those reasons are given below:

Reason 1: Bakers in the Early Days

The addition of peanuts in baked items like cookies had begun around the time of 1925. Without the peanuts, the cookies had pretty average ingredients you would find in a regular cookie. It had sugar, eggs, and butter as its ingredients.

Adding just some chopped peanuts, crushed peanuts, or peanut butter as an ingredient to the regular cookie recipe made the cookie become something else entirely.

  • Enforcing the Fork Marks

At first, there were no special markings made on peanut butter cookies. They looked like every other cookie: just simple, small, and round. Around 1932, there were discussions about putting fork marks on top of the peanut butter cookies.

The marks would be made from the back of a fork being pushed gently on the cookie dough in criss-cross-sections that overlapped each other. This would be done right after the dough was made, rolled out slightly, divided by cookie cutters, and placed on a baking tray before being baked.

  • Baking Hack

This debate among bakers and other people leads to making out the reason for these fork marks to be for the purpose of holding down the form of the cookies.

Apparently, the peanut butter cookie dough was very thick and firm. Pressing it down with forks helped it to hold its form better, and it would cook through better in the oven once the thickness decreased as the cookie was flattened out a bit.

Reason 2: Age-Old Tradition or Celebration

A very simple explanation would date back to the early days when this recipe for adding peanuts as an ingredient to cookies was first invented.

Since it was a very new technique created by certain people, it had caught many people’s attention. People had understood that there were at least 105 recipes that could efficiently use peanuts as an ingredient.

Among those 105 recipes, there were three recipes for the use of peanuts in cookies. Peanuts would either be crushed, chopped or turned into a paste called peanut butter.

For the sake of celebrating such a new and wonderful ingredient, the bakers during that time must have put in fork marks to make the cookies seem special and have a separate identity in their looks.

Today’s modern bakers are most likely trying to respect that tradition of making peanut butter cookies have a distinguishable look compared to other cookies by adding fork grid marks on top.

Reason 3: Warning Against Allergies

There is a large number of people in this world who are born with allergies to peanuts. Some develop this peanut allergy later on in life as well. Such allergies are extreme and react to anything even remotely related to peanuts.

The smell of peanuts from nearby, other people around them eating peanuts, a simple peanut essence or ingredient used in a food item the person ate, and many other reasons could give these people an allergy attack right away.

  • The Allergy Effect

The sensitivity to such an allergy is very strong and heavy. In seconds the person could go into a coughing fit because they would have trouble breathing, their lips and the rest of their face could begin swelling with redness, they could start feeling itchy all over their skin and develop rashes, etc. among many symptoms.

  • The Solution

So, to protect these people, peanut butter cookies having fork marks on top might be a creative way to prevent allergic people from accidentally buying them or eating them. These marks’ popular design signifies they are peanut butter cookies, and the person can immediately avoid eating it or touching it. 

Seeing a packet of these cookies in a shop might save them from buying it since the packaging would be airtight, and there will be labels and ingredients mentions on the packaging. But what if someone without allergies bought them and served it to a guest who did have peanut allergies.

These cookies will obviously be out of the packet at that time. The allergic person will immediately recognize the cookie design and can avoid eating it. That is why the fork design still holds a lot of importance in society.

Final Words

Peanut butter cookies are definitely one of those cookies that have both a classy look and taste. It has its own signature design on it, which makes us curious about why peanut butter cookies have fork marks.

We have jotted down a few reasons why this might be happening. Aside from those, there might be other potential reasons why bakers back then and bakers now like to add fork criss-cross marks on top of their peanut butter cookies.

However, the above-mentioned reasons should be good enough to understand why this might be done to the cookies before they are baked.