I decided to try my hand at making some Reese's peanut butter cup cookies. Friends have linked me to a few different places with recipes recently, and I found a lack of variation between the different recipes.
It is my goal here to change that.
I wanted to know how to bake a peanut butter cup into a cookie in such a way to create the greatest satisfaction of tasty goodness. I also didn't do much research on other sites before embarking on this, so I didn't have much in the way of guidance, other then "this seems like fun." I've provided notes at the end of most of the steps with information I took away and suggestions for future attempts. You're welcome to use or discard these suggestions (except for those in step 2). If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!
With all of this in mind, perhaps we should continue with this endeavor...
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- peanut butter cups
- Normal size
- Mini (what you might hand out on Halloween / fun size)
- Micro (chocolate chip size / very tiny)
- Bowls for Mixing
- Electric Mixer (I used a Kitchen Aid, any electric mixer will work)
- Cookie Sheets (baking pans)
- Wire Rack (not really needed, but I like to use)
I made a double batch of cookies in order to try all of the different styles I wanted. Follow the ingredients, not the image for correct proportions.
Step 2: Making the Cookie Dough
- First beat sugars, butter, vanilla and egg with mixer.
- Then stir in flour, baking soda and salt (until the dough becomes stiff).
I used the same baking time for all cookies once prepped. This was 8-10 minutes (or once they start to exhibit a light brown color).
I also cooled all cookies the same amount of time. I left them to cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes, and then moved them to a wire rack until cool. You can also move them to a plate.
Step 3: Prepping the Peanut Butter Cups
Now for the part that requires some patience and some prepping.
Depending on the type of peanut butter cups you bought, they might be individually wrapped, or all unwrapped in a carton. Unwrapping them individually takes some time.
Think about how you want to incorporate them into your cookie, and prep accordingly. I wasn't sure which way would taste the best, so I opted to run a mini gauntlet of all the different scenarios I could think of, and see which way demonstrated the most desirable results.
Step 4: Half a Peanut Butter Cup - Completly Enclosed in Cookie
Simply laid out:
- I cut each cup in half.
- Rolled a ball of dough, divided it into two.
- Placed half a peanut butter cup between the two halves of dough.
- Pinch the edges of cookie dough together with fingers.
- Place on cookie sheet
These worked out great. When finished, they looked like a basic cookie with no filling. One bite though, would reveal surprise and delight.
Step 5: Half a Peanut Butter Cup - Divided - Half Inside With a Topper
- Follow all directions in last step for forming the cookie (but use lower half for innards).
- Place cookie on pan.
- Add topper.
One thing I didn't take into consideration when making these cookies was how easily chocolate melts. In future batches I'm going to try to bake the cookie first (without the topper), then add the topper immediately when it gets out of the oven. If that doesn't work, I might also try adding the topper when the cookie is done, and putting it back into the oven for another 30 seconds to let it melt, just slightly.
Step 6: Whole Peanut Butter Cup - Pushed Into Cookie
- Roll a slightly larger ball of dough
- Place dough onto cookie sheet
- Press peanut butter cup into dough
Cooking the exposed chocolate for the entire bake time, melts the peanut butter cup. While it's still completely recognizable, it does take away some of the flare of the finished piece.
Step 7: Full Size Peanut Butter Cup - Baked In
- Grab ball of dough
- Flatten dough onto cookie sheet (in a circle, slightly wider the peanut butter cup)
- Place peanut butter cup centered on dough.
- Pull edges of dough up and connect to peanut butter cup.
These came out much nicer then the small ones that I pushed down into the dough. The only problems with these is that the chocolate tops melted slightly due to the high temperatures in the oven. Doing research after making these, I realize that a lot of people will bake cookies with nothing in them first, and immediately add the peanut butter cup after removing from the oven. This is probably a good way to go. I will say though, even though the tops were slightly melted, the finished cookie still looked quite good.
Step 8: Crumbled Peanut Butter Cup's - Baked In
- Crumble up peanut butter cups into a bowl
- Mix desired amount of peanut butter cup crumble with cookie dough (an electric mixer helps)
- Separate balls of dough onto cookie sheet
If you're going for the look of a peanut butter cup in a cookie, this is not for you. But if you would just prefer the chocolate and peanut butter taste emanating from each bite of cookie, you might try this option.
Step 9: Micro Peanut Butter Cup Chip Cookies
- Mix desired amount of micro peanut butter cups with cookie dough (again, an electric mixer makes this easy)
- Separate balls of dough onto baking sheet
I think this was by far the easiest method. The cookies come out looking like chocolate chip cookies, but they have that added peanut butter surprise that most people who tried couldn't quite put their finger on at first (which made the process of watching them try to figure out more fun).
Also, this batch was made separate from the rest of the cookies. I made this batch of cookie dough gluten free, and these are pictures of the first set of cookies pulled out of the oven. This first batch didn't have enough flour in it, so they didn't stick together properly and look a little flatter (I enjoyed them more then the ones after we added more flour...it made them a bit crunchier while still being chewy goodness)! I didn't get shots of the ones with more flour, suffice it to say, they look the same, just fluffier.
Step 10: In Review
The pictures below show the finished cookies side by side (for comparative purposes). Sadly, I wasn't able to make the micro chip cookies in the same batch (or the same week), so all of the originals had already been eaten when I was taking pictures. The finished picture is here as well, though it's a little more difficult to compare.
Overall, my least favorites were the whole mini cup placed in the center and the whole big cup placed in center (the big cup is just too much peanut butter cup for one cookie).
Of the ones people seemed to enjoy most:
For the original intention, the hidden mini cup with the top, place on after baking as a topper would have to be best.
For design, the half a cup placed inside of the cookie (it just looks so plain...until you bite into it), was a huge hit!
Also the crushed cups, and the micro cups were thoroughly enjoyed, but not for any specific reason. Simply because they tasted really good.
Step 11: Comments and Suggestions
I'm sure ideas are going to crop up that I didn't think of trying, and that's where this step falls in. For all those really good suggestions that I completly forgot about, I'm going to try to keep them all here. We'll see how this works.
From, haventmadeabombye: "My mom rolls up the cookie dough into balls, but bakes them in a mini-muffin pan (same temp and time). Then, immediately after they come out of the oven, she presses a small reeses cup into the still soft cookie/muffin. You get a nice peanut butter cookie cradling an intact reeses. I like to put the reeses in the freezer prior to use so they're less likely to melt as you push them in. To avoid scratching your muffin pan, I use a cheap, but flexible, plastic fork to pry out the cookies.
This technique did require me to buy a mini-muffin pan which I've yet to use for anything else."