With a few grad school exams under my belt, a celebration was in order, so I decided to unite two of my favorite things: chocolate and peanut butter. When we were kids, our favorite snack was chocolate chips and peanut butter mixed up in a bowl. I thought that was a common thing, but my boyfriend Dan had never ever had it before. So maybe not so common. But still, delicious! I mean, it’s like ants on a log without the celery, which seems about a zillion times better to me! (And for those of you who think ants on a log is celery, peanut butter, and raisins, you’ve been doing it wrong. It’s waaaaay better if you use chocolate chips instead of raisins. I think it actually kind of crushed my sister’s hopes and dreams when she realized it was supposed to be raisins.)
Anyways, back to the chocolate and peanut butter. I have a fantastic chocolate chip cookie recipe with peanut butter chips in it, but I wanted to make something more peanut buttery. So, I scoured the internet (really just browsed Pinterest for a while because I’m a little addicted….) and stumbled upon this recipe. It’s from Averie at Averie Cooks and everything on her blog looks fantastic. It looked perfect, and when I asked Junior for his opinion, he brought me a stuffed animal warthog, which I took to mean that I should get to baking.
The recipe itself is really easy, and makes a soft, very peanut-buttery cookie with a great chocolately crunch from the Reese’s Pieces. They’re packed with chocolate, which is fantastically melty right when you take them out of the oven. I may have burned my mouth a bit trying one, but it was worth it! A word to the wise, though: don’t use natural peanut butter in this recipe. I pretty much only eat all-natural peanut butter (like the kind whose only ingredient is peanuts) because (a) I like it and (b) Junior loves it and (c) I feel better about giving him human food when it’s all natural. So really, heed my warning. I haven’t tried it in this recipe, but in other baking endeavors, natural peanut butter has always somehow screwed up my end result. So just don’t do it–go out and buy a small jar of Jif or something because Choosy Moms Choose Jif, right? And if you have extra Jif you can send it to my sister who’s studying abroad in Jif-free Morocco and misses her chocolate chips and peanut butter.
Side tangents aside, these cookies are delicious and I’d recommend baking them a few at a time so you don’t bake one batch and then snatch one every time you walk by the kitchen. Which may have happened to me….before I packaged the remaining ones and handed them over to Dan to eat! But, I took Junior on a nice long hike afterwards so it all balances out. At least that’s what I tell myself!
Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 40 small cookies
Ingredients: 1 egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (no natural stuff! go with Jif or Skippy or something similar)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese’s Pieces
1 cup chocolate chips
Combine the egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. If you don’t have one, a regular mixer works fine, but it’ll be a lot of effort to do by hand, so unless you have incredible forearms, go for the electronic mixer. Cream together on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until it’s fluffy and light in color. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, and add in to the peanut butter mixture. Be careful not to overmix–stir it until just combined. Add in the candy and chocolate chips, stirring until evenly distributed. It’s a high chocolate-to-dough ratio, but it makes the end product really fantastic.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before baking. As a little secret, because it’s easier to form the dough into balls before it’s chilled, I usually roll the dough into small (about 1-2 tablespoon) balls right after making it and put them all on a plate, then stick the dough balls in the fridge. Then, when you’re ready to bake, you just have to stick them on a cookie sheet and you’re good to go! It saves me time when I want to eat cookies, which seems completely worthwhile to me.
When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silpat. (My lovely mother took sympathy on her poor graduate student daughter and bought me TWO of my very own silpats, so I can now bake like the rest of you fancy pants!) Bake the cookies for about 6 minutes; they should look a little underdone when you take them out of the oven. Let them cool on the pan for about 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!