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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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!

side view of peanut butter cup cookies with one slice open so the inside is visible

Peanut butter cup cookie recipe

Fresh baked cookies are the best things ever. They truly are one of life’s greatest pleasures. Some of my favorites are peanut butter blossoms and soft peanut butter cookies.

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.
overhead view of peanut butter cup cookies on wire rack

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:

sliced peanut butter cup cookie so the candy inside is visible

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.

process shots showing how to combine wet ingredients for peanut butter cup cookies

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.

dry ingredients for peanut butter cup cookies in a sieve set over glass bowl

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.

peanut butter cookie dough in glass bowl with pink spatula

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.

process shots showing how to stuff peanut butter cookie dough with peanut butter cups

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.

unbaked and baked peanut butter cup cookies on baking sheets

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.

hand dipping peanut butter cup cookie into bowl of melted chocolate

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.

side view of peanut butter cup cookies on wire rack

Storage tips

  • 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:

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side view of peanut butter cup cookies with one slice open so the inside is visible

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 32 minutes

These peanut butter cup cookies are so good! Bake up a batch today and swoon over their rich chocolate peanut butter flavor. Each peanut butter cookie is stuffed with a miniature peanut butter cup and drizzled with melty chocolate.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • ½ cup (92 g) vegetable shortening, room temperature - SEE NOTE 1
  • ¾ cup (180 g) creamy peanut butter - SEE NOTE 2
  • ¾ cup (157 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups (227 g) all-purpose flour - SEE NOTE 3
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 36 mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Instructions

Make the cookies

  1. Line 3 large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla together on medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk. Add it to the peanut butter mixture and mix just until no streaks of dry flour are visible.
  4. Scoop 1 tablespoon-sized balls of dough and shape it around each peanut butter cup, enclosing it entirely.
  5. Place the cookie balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  7. Bake the cold cookie dough for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just set and beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze

  1. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each one until fully melted and smooth.
  2. Dip the tops of each cookie in the chocolate and let the excess drip off.
  3. Return the cookies to the wire rack and let sit until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours. Or refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.

Notes

  1. Don't substitute with butter or oil. The cookies will spread too much.
  2. Use a commercial brand peanut butter such as Jif. Natural peanut butter will cause the cookies to spread too much.
  3. Sift the flour after measuring to remove any clumps. This will make it easier to fully incorporated into the dough.

Make ahead tip

  1. Store baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature or 1 week in the refrigerator.
  2. The baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 94mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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Megan @ Meg is Well

Monday 4th of April 2016

These would be so dangerous for me! I'm a chocolate and peanut butter addict so this combination is too good to resist. Genius!

Jen

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

Thank you for the kind comment, Megan! I hope you get the chance to try them.

mira

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

I love peanut butter! And peanut butter cups! These cookies are hard to resist! Pinned to try them!

Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

Monday 28th of March 2016

Yum! What a delicious treat to find in the center of a cookie!

Amanda

Monday 28th of March 2016

And I thought there wasn't a way to like peanut butter cups more. These look crazy good!

Jen

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

So glad you like the cookies, Amanda!!

Ashley - The Recipe Rebel

Monday 28th of March 2016

Um, WHOA. This is my kind of cookie! It's almost impossible to resist the urge to go bake a batch now! If only I had some peanut butter cups.... ;)

Jen

Tuesday 29th of March 2016

Haha, you totally should whip up a batch!!

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