One summer during elementary school, my friend’s mom invited me along to the pool with her three daughters. We drove to their favorite location in the next town over, closer to where the mom taught kindergarten during the year, and parallel parked on the quiet neighborhood street. Towels in hand, we pulled open the gate and settled into a few lounge chairs until the adult swim ended.
We splashed around and jumped off diving boards for an hour until the next adult swim. When the lifeguard blew the whistle for the 15-minute break, we piled back onto the lounge chairs and pulled out water bottles. Their mom reached into a small cooler and handed us each a couple of Reese’s miniatures. She turned to me and asked, “Do you know how to eat them?”
As a confused look spread across my face (don’t you just bite into them?), she gently explained the method she and her daughters used. First, unwrap the peanut butter cup. Nibble off the chocolate around the sides. Bite the chocolate off the top and bottom, and finish with the peanut butter center—aka save the best for last!
So I obediently followed her directions, and…
I’ve eaten Reese’s the same way nearly every single time since then! Although sometimes I leave the top and bottom chocolate intact… Still, it’s a much better peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio like that!
However, when I realized I had accidentally plowed my way through half of the big bag of Reese’s Halloween candy I bought for trick-or-treaters this month, I thought I should probably try to bake something to distract me from the rest. Half an hour later, these Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies sat cooling on my countertop!
This chocolate cookie base is unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. It’s not too milky, not too bittersweet; instead, it’s rich and on the lighter side of dark. Almost like a brownie met a cookie… Basically a chocoholic’s dream! To create that flavor, we’ll add almost as much cocoa powder as flour with just enough sugar to balance it out.
When chopping the peanut butter cups, aim to cut them about the size of miniature chocolate chips. With anything much larger than that, only about half of your bites will contain a sweet peanut buttery morsel. Nobody likes a naked cookie!
I usually save about 1/3 of the bits to press into the tops of the cookie dough just before baking. Those little nuggets peeking out are so tempting!
It’s really important to avoid over-baking these cookies. The outsides easily turn crunchy if forgotten about, so don’t stray too far from the oven. They only bake for 8-10 minutes! Pull them out when they still feel underdone, and let them cool for 10 minutes on the warm baking sheet. This helps the centers continue to cook through without drying out the exteriors.
Pure chocolaty peanut buttery bliss.
I offered one to my dad when he arrived home from work, just before he planned on heading out for a walk with Mom and their new puppy. “Umm, I’m going to skip the walk after all…” he replied after his first bite. “There are still two more cookies left in this bag!”
My thought exactly Dad… I was going to eat those two the second they shut the front door!