The time-honored pairing of peanut butter and chocolate is elevated with more peanut butter and a dusting of sea salt in this super simple, salty-sweet recipe that will delight any time of year!
Peanut butter and chocolate. What could be better?
Perhaps when that peanut butter and chocolate is enrobed in a peanut butter cookie crust and dusted with a touch of flaky sea salt?
This, two-bite, salty-sweet cookie is truly the easy treat of my dreams.
Plus it’s easy to make with your favorite peanut butter cookie batter or a grocery store shortcut. I like to use this Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie batter, which consists of just three ingredients (plus vanilla and salt) and is equally divine in traditional cookie form. (If you like peanut butter cookies, you MUST try. With their creamy insides and crisp edges, not to mention the utter ease of preparation, these cookies are a legend in the making and rival the best of PB cookie recipes.)
I like to make a batch of these Peanut Butter Cookie Cups and store them in the freezer. For an afternoon snack or easy dessert, I let one or two sit on the counter for a few minutes to thaw and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. A frosty glass may be the perfect pairing for some.
When baking recently with my nieces, we experimented with the packaged dough and did a taste test with our usual miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups and Wilbur Buds. The size of Hershey kisses and Rolos make them well suited to these cookies, too. (Two of us preferred the peanut butter cups, and one voted for Wilbur buds.)
The baking time will vary slightly, depending on which cookie dough recipe you use. I’ve mentioned that in the recipe, but as always when baking, check a few minutes early and add an extra minute or two as needed.
Press the peanut butter cups into the cookies as soon as the cookies are removed the oven. That way, they will still be very soft and the candies will press in easily.
If desired, sprinkle the still-hot cookies with a tiny pinch of flaky sea salt. I wait until the chocolate melts slightly. That way the salt sticks better.
Wilbur Buds, from local favorite Wilbur Chocolate, make a tasty center option for these cookies and are available in milk and dark chocolate. Rolos are an option as well, although Reese’s peanut butter cups are my personal favorite!
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Though it may seem like a small detail, unwrapping the peanut butter cups prior to removing the cookies from the oven will ensure you get them pressed in while the cookies are still soft.
1 (16- or 16.5-ounce) package or tube refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough or your favorite homemade cookie dough**
Optional: flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350℉, and spray or line a 24-count miniature muffin tin. (I like to use the mini parchment paper liners that are widely available.)
Place a 1-inch ball of dough in each cup. (Helpful hints: If using a scale and a 16.5-ounce tube of dough, you’ll want each ball to weigh 19 grams. To make uniformly sized balls without a scale, cut the roll into six even slices and then quarter each slice. When using the package with pre-cut squares, simply roll the pieces into balls.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes, give or take a minute depending on oven. Remove from the oven and, leaving the cookies in the muffin tin, immediately press one candy into each cookie. If desired, sprinkle very lightly with flaky sea salt.
When the cookies are almost cool, remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack. If you’re not using liners and have trouble removing the cookies from the pan, place the cooled pan in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
*Hershey’s Kisses, Wilbur Buds (for locals!), or Rolos may be used in place of the bite-size peanut butter cups. When using Kisses or Wilbur Buds, I like to push the point-side into the cookie.
**Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough is widely available and is sold in the refrigerator section in an orange tube or flat package. The package contains 24 pre-cut squares, which make these cookies even quicker. You may also substitute chocolate chip cookie dough, either store-bought or your favorite homemade recipe. When using homemade dough, roll it into 1-inch balls and note that baking time may vary slightly.