These peanut butter cup cookies feature thick peanut butter cookies filled with chocolate peanut butter cups. The cookies are topped with melted chocolate. This is a chocolate peanut butter lover's dream cookie!
Peanut butter cup cookie recipe
Today's peanut butter cup cookies bake up thick and soft while melty peanut butter and chocolate fill the center. The dough is made with shortening so the cookies don't spread too much as they bake.
There's a good amount of peanut butter in the dough and tons of brown sugar to add depth to the flavor. Despite the amount of brown sugar, the cookie itself isn't that sweet.
I tested various amounts of sugar to get the right sweetness because the peanut butter cup in the center is plenty sweet. I even tested the cookies with white sugar but found brown sugar to work best.
This recipe is one I've been making for years. It's adapted from the first cookbook I ever baked from! It's loved by many! Even those who claim to not like peanut butter. How can someone NOT like peanut butter?!!!
These cookies are everything a cookie should be. The cookie itself exudes peanut butter flavor. It's soft yet has a slight crisp.
The chocolate peanut butter combination is a comforting classic. It's rich and decadent. And you simply can't stop at just one.
Why this recipe works
- I like to use shortening instead of butter. I find that the cookies don't spread as much during baking.
- After shaping, the cookies are refrigerated for 1 hour before baking. This also helps prevent them from spreading.
- The recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda. Baking powder helps the cookies stay soft while baking soda helps with browning.
Peanut butter cup cookie ingredients
More than likely you already have these ingredients on hand. Let's see what they are.
- Peanut butter: Make sure to use a commercial brand like Jif. Natural peanut butters tend to be too oily and can make the cookies spread too much. And the creamy variety is what you need.
- Shortening: Vegetable shortening will give you better results than butter. It prevents the cookies from spreading. Don't try to use oil in place of shortening, it will not work!
- Sugar: Light brown sugar adds flavor and sweetness but doesn't make the cookie too sweet.
- Egg: You only need 1 egg and make sure it's at room temperature so it mixes into the dough easily.
- Milk: A little milk makes the dough soft and moldable.
- Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract for the best results. I like to make my own vanilla.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is best for these cookies. If your flour has clumps in it, be sure to sift it. This will make it easier to mix into the dough.
- Baking powder: Helps the cookies bake up soft and thick.
- Baking soda: Helps give the cookies a golden brown color.
- Salt: Just a little salt balances the sweetness.
- Chocolate chips: I used melted semisweet chocolate chips to dip the cookies in. You can change this and use darker chocolate if you want the cookies to be even less sweet.
To make peanut butter cup cookies you'll need:
- Mixing bowls (affiliate link): These bowls are my favorite. I use them regularly.
- Handheld electric mixer (affiliate link): You need a mixer to whip the cream for the mousse filling.
- Cookie scoop (affiliate link): A 1-tablespoon cookie scoop works best for portioning the cookies.
- Baking sheet (affiliate link): It takes 3 baking sheets to bake all the cookies.
How to make decadent peanut butter cookies
This recipe is super simple and doesn't require a ton of steps. The shaped cookies must be refrigerated for 1 hour before baking. Plan ahead for that.
The Dough - The dough is whipped up easily by mixing the wet ingredients then mixing in the dry ingredients.
The Filling - The filling is a miniature peanut butter cup. The dough is shaped around the candy.
The Topping - The topping is made with melted chocolate chips and a tiny bit of shortening.
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients
Combine the shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
Add in the egg and mix until well combined.
Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until very well combined.
If the flour has clumps in it, be sure to sift it. It's easier to fully incorporate the flour when it's free of clumps.
Step 3: Combine the wet & dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until no streaks of dry flour are visible. Be careful to not overmix the dough.
Step 4: Shape the cookies
Use a 1-tablespoon sized cookie scoop to portion the dough. Flatten each portion with your hands and place a single peanut butter cup in the center.
Mold the dough around the candy and shape it into a ball.
Place the cookies 2-inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Then, refrigerate them for 1 hour before baking. Don't skip this part or the cookies will spread too much.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the cookies at 375°F for 10-12 minutes. They will appear undercooked but will continue to set once removed from the oven.
Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6: Dip the cookies in chocolate
Add chocolate chips and shortening to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals. Stir after each one until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
Dip the tops of each cooking into the chocolate and let the excess drip off. Return the cookies to the wire rack.
At this point, you can let the cookies sit at room temperature until the chocolate sets. This can take up to 2 hours. Or place the cookies in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
ⓘ Make-ahead tip: Like with most cookies, you can whip up the dough, shape the balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet before tossing them into zip-top bags to save for later. You can simply pull out as many as you'd like and bake them up whenever the urge strikes.
- Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature or 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Store baked and cooled cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
If you like peanut butter baked goods, you’ll love these other tasty recipes: