Fact: everything is cuter in miniature size.
Fact: Miniature sizes mean miniature calories.
Fact: The “miniature calories” rule still applies when you take said cute miniature things and stuff them into giant cookies. Giant gooey, chocolatey, taste bud exploding-y cookies.
Facts don’t lie, right? I’m pretty sure that math adds up.
These ridiculous chocolate bombs are a riff on my Gooey Chocolate Cookies, which just might be my favorite cookie recipe ever. I often make them for events or parties, and I like to play around and swap out the nuts and chocolate chips in the original recipe for other mix-ins like toffee bits, pretzels, or chopped candy bars.
I was doing one such swap a few weeks ago, tweaking the batter, adding peanut butter, and throwing in reckless amounts of mini peanut butter cups, when it occurred to me that other people might want to hear about these variations, and see some melty chocolate food porn of the highest caliber. Other people like you. So here you go, friends! A feast for the eyes and the tongue:
I could give you a long spiel about why I added peanut butter cups to the batter, and talk about the complex flavor interplay between chocolate and peanut butter, and you could all play Food Blogger Bingo and try to see how many buzzword I crammed into one overly flowery paragraph.
The truth, though, is that I was at Fresh & Easy and all of their tubs of mini peanut butter cups were on clearance, and I’m the kind of terrible shopper who will buy things that I don’t need because they’re a good deal, and who knows when I might really need several pounds of peanut butter cups, and won’t I be sorry if I need them later and they’re more expensive? So long story short, I ended up with 4 containers of totally unnecessary peanut butter cups silently judging me from the cupboard. Tell me I’m not the only person who does this.
So when we were asked to bring cookies to an event recently, I was relieved that I could put the cups to good use and feel like I had done a good thing, a Smart Budget-y Thing, by buying all that candy. And not only am I the best budgetary ninja ever, but I’m the best cookie ninja ever, because this peanut butter cup variation is amazing. Think about it: what could possibly go better with gooey chocolate than pockets of gooey peanut butter cups? Nothing, that’s what.
I’ve written the word “gooey” approximately three dozen times in the post, so it should be obvious that this is not a dessert for the thin & crispy cookie fans out there. This is for the people who chronically underbake their cookies, seeking that underdone texture that borders on raw cookie dough. These cookies seem sturdy enough once they cool, but when you bite into them, the firm edges yield to a soft truffle center that will make you question if the cookie will hold up in your hand, or if you’ll have to resort to shoveling it in your mouth with a spoon.
The batter is made with a high proportion of chocolate—heck, it’s practically all chocolate—so definitely use a chocolate you enjoy eating! No bargain bin chocolate chips, please. [But bargain bin peanut butter cups? Don’t mind if I do.] Bon appetit, my gooey chocolate-loving chums!
Recipe Notes: You can find miniature peanut butter cups at grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Fresh & Easy, sold under the store brand. You can also look for Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups at grocery stores, drug stores, or online at Amazon. Alternately, you can chop up large peanut butter cups and stir those pieces in instead.
Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
yield: 20 large cookies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (3 oz) creamy peanut butter
2 oz unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups mini peanut butter cups
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
Combine the chopped chocolate, the peanut butter, and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted and smooth. Stir after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and beat with a whisk attachment until thick and foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and the vanilla, and mix them in until they’re incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, as the chocolate has a tendency to sink to the bottom.
Stir in the flour mixture, and when that’s incorporated, add the miniature peanut butter cups, reserving about 1/4 cup of them. Press a layer of cling wrap on top of the batter and refrigerate it until it’s firm enough to scoop, at least 1 hour. (The batter can be refrigerated for several days, but it will need to sit at room temperature to become workable if it has been chilled for an extended period.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a large 1/4-cup scoop to scoop large portions onto the baking sheets. Cut the remaining peanut butter cups in half, and press a few of them on top of each cookie. Bake the cookies until they look dry and crackly on the top, but the center is still very jiggly and soft when pressed, about 12-15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet—if you try to move them too soon, they’ll fall apart. Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days For the best taste and texture, microwave them for a few seconds before serving, so the centers get warm and gooey.
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