Update!! These cookies won the Pancake Princess’ peanut butter cookie bake-off! Her bake-offs (in case you did not know) are the stuff of legends. They are extremely competitive and I feel extremely honored to have a cooke that won!
My thing with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups goes way back. Like we’re talking childhood. Yes, back in the day I flirted with Nestle Crunch and Krackle bars (I do really dig the chocolate/”crispies” thing — see my recipe for crispies bars inspired by Oh Henry! bars for evidence of that). But my true love has always been the combo of peanut butter and chocolate. Not only did guests at my wedding receive mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as a favor (and, no, they were not homemade), but to this day when I trick or treat with my children, I buy myself a bag of them to stuff in my purse as we walk. This way I can happily eat my favorite candy all Halloween night without getting into trouble with my kids for stealing their’s. (I’ve trained them well and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is kind of their most beloved treat, too).
Of course, with all this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup chatter, you’re probably wondering why this recipe is for cookies rather than buckeyes (homemade peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate — and, FYI, my favorite recipe for said balls is one that I would love to link and share with you, but I clipped it from an August 2009 issue of Gourmet and cannot find it anywhere on the web, which is very frustrating, as I consider myself the Nancy Drew of recipe sleuthing — but I digress.) The thing is my love/obsession with the peanut butter/chocolate combo extends way beyond candy. Like way. Thus, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookies recipe (deeply influenced, yes, by my favorite candy) was inevitable, particularly in light of my deep love of cookies (specifically cookies of the large, chewy, slightly crispy exterior/somewhat raw(ish) interior variety).
Now, my go-to peanut butter chocolate cookie recipe for years was for “peanut blossoms” (a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s kiss stuck in the center), given to me (reluctantly) by my mother-in-law (basically the high priestess of the old-school dessert). Then I stumbled upon this Epicurious peanut butter cookie recipe and the large, chewy-ish cookies it produced won me over, even replacing peanut blossoms as my go-to PB cookie. And it remained my #1, until now, when the reality of a recipe collection without a cookie paying proper homage to my favorite candy finally sunk in. And so, in order to fill said void, I developed this peanut butter chocolate chip cookies recipe, influenced — inevitably/purposefully — by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the two recipes mentioned above (my cookie has milk chocolate chips, like the milk chocolate of the blossom’s kiss; and oil and egg yolks, like those found in the recipe from Gourmet). And yet these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies also have melted butter and bread flour because both contribute beautifully (and tastily) to a chewy cookie (as I wrote about in my chocolate chip cookie recipe). And lots of vanilla and salt and Skippy peanut butter cause all three kind of scream, “I need to be in your peanut butter cookie,” to me.
And even though with the above mentioned ingredients in mind, my cookie recipe was essentially developed, I couldn’t let well enough alone, and had to do just the tiniest bit of additional research to confirm that there were no PB cookie secrets out there, just waiting to be discovered. I looked at this PB cookie recipe from Magnoila Bakery cause Smitten Kitchen said they were the best. And I looked at this ZoeBakes, from David Lebovitz cause it calls for melted butter, too. and at Joanne Chang’s peanut butter cookie and at Alice Medrich’s cause, ahh, why not? And, you know, I kind of came up empty-handed in the secret department. Until I found this: The PB cookie recipe from one of my most favorite NYC spots. The secret? Coating the cookie in a combo of sugar and salt before baking. I had tried just salt (too salty) and just sugar (not bad), but the combo? Totally amazers. There you have it. The journey that led me to create this cookie. Now, all I ask is that you make them, love them, and think of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups while you eat them.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 cups (260 grams) bread flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt iI'm a salt-aholic; if you're not, you can use less
- 3/4 to 1 cup (about 170 grams) milk chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 sticks (168 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 1 1/4 cup (250 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar plus more for rolling your cookies in prior to baking
- 1/4 cup (49 grams) vegetable oil any neutral oil, NOT extra virgin
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 yolks
- 3/4 cup (202 grams) 2 Tbsp Skippy peanut butter (or any PB you like that is not of the "natural" variety)
- Maldon sea salt for sprinkling before baking
- Combine the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a medium-large bowl and whisk to fully incorporate the ingredients. Add the chocolate and whisk again. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium to medium high speed until fully incorporated and lightened in color, about 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bowl, as needed.
- Add the oil and vanilla and beat until incorporated, another minute or two, again, scraping as needed. On low speed, add the egg and yolks all at once and mix until just combined, scraping as needed. Add the peanut butter and mix until just combined, again.
- With the mixer still on low, add the dry ingredients and chocolate chips all at once, and mix until only some of the flour is incorporated into the wet batter (less than a minute). Turn off the machine and continue mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.
- Scoop the dough using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop (or a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup) and place the scooped dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours (or even 72).
- When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll your scooped dough in granulated sugar, and sprinkle the tops with Maldon sea salt. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake the cookies for exactly 12 minutes, rotating after 6.
- Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack and lightly press each cookie with a spatula to flatten. let cool and enjoy. Cookies will keep at room temp tightly covered for up to 3 days or up to a month frozen.