I asked Brian what he thought I should make for a recent get-together we went to, but I really should have known in advance what his answer would be: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies. I discovered just a few months ago that these were a favorite of his growing up (still discovering things after almost 12 years together – amazing!) and have made them several times since. I thought I’d share the recipe here in case you’d like to try it too; there are a lot of variations of it around the web, but this is what I use and really love. It’s also a really convenient recipe in that you’ll probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen at any given time. When I wanted to make these, all I needed to buy was the candy, so I only spent about $2.50.
• 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
• 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will work, but I prefer smooth)
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 & 3/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
• miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups (you’ll need one for each cookie – around 30-40 depending on how you portion your dough)
Before doing anything, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
1) In your mixing bowl, combine the butter (I slice mine up, because in my mind that makes it mix better), white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Mix until everything is well-blended and fairly smooth. It will still be pretty thick at this point.
2) Add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until the dough has loosened up a little bit. It should look like this:
3) In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. I have to admit, I don’t always follow this step. If I’m in a hurry I just mix in the salt and baking soda, and then add the flour last. If I have the time, though, I will include this process. I know sifting is supposed to help make sure the ingredients are distributed evenly, break up clumps, and add air to the mixture. Don’t the sifted ingredients look pretty, too?
4) Gradually add the sifted ingredients to the peanut butter/sugar mixture. I usually add 1/2 a cup at a time. Not only does this help things blend together uniformly, but it helps prevent flour flying out of the bowl all over the place.
The finished dough should have this consistency:
5) Now, pull out a mini-muffin pan to put your dough in. Between the butter and peanut butter, there’s no need to grease the pan.
6) Take about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll between your hands to form a ball. If you’re unsure about the size, place it in the pan to see how it fits. Here’s one of mine :
If you make yours a little too large initially, you can always go back and downsize a little after the fact. Here’s what your pan should look like with the dough in it. I press each ball down a little bit so that it fills the cup well.
7) Before putting your pan in the oven, it’s time to deal with the Reese’s peanut butter cups. It takes longer than you think it will to unwrap them, and if you wait until the cookies are baking you’ll end up feeling rushed.
I put mine all on a plate and stick them in the freezer so they don’t melt as much as I place them in the cookies.
8) Time to bake! These need to be in the oven about 8 minutes. I tested mine with a toothpick, because it’s hard to tell if these are done just by looking at them. Don’t overbake! You want these cookies to be soft. Since they’re such tall cookies, they’re really difficult to eat if they’re crunchy.
Here’s what they’ll look like immediately out of the oven:
9) Grab your candy out of the freezer and place one Reese’s cup in each cookie…
Until you’re all done!
Once you’ve finished, let the cookies sit for quite a while. The chocolate in the candy melts as you place it in the hot cookie, even with the freezing, so it takes a little bit of time for the chocolate to set back up. Once the actual cookies are cool to the touch, I move them from the pan to a plate so the candy can cool a little faster.
An idea I’ve had, but haven’t tried yet, is to dip each cookie in melted milk chocolate. Then the cookie would take on more of the appearance of a peanut butter cup – and who doesn’t like a little extra chocolate?
I hope you enjoy this cookie recipe as much as we do!