Posted by: CJW | August 4, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Five years ago, John and I came out to Seattle for a three purpose visit: a visit to the law school to which I would be matriculating that fall, a frantic search for a house (unfortunately, right when the housing bubble was just before its popping point), and a job interview for John. While here, I squeezed in a visit with a friend at her workplace which would be my workplace for our first year here.

After a really filling lunch at a nearby pan-Asian restaurant, I was instructed that I had to have room for a Specialty’s cookie as they were too good to be missed. If you haven’t had the pleasure, let me assure you that these cookies are killer– thick, buttery, filled with chunks of chocolate. If you want to be healthy, you can get the whole spelt wheat versions, but no matter what, try to get them fresh out of the oven. Don’t worry– their website will even tell you when there’s a fresh batch near you. These cookies are so good that at said workplace, it was a perfectly acceptable excuse to take a break to go on a cookie run. They are so amazing that on a recent business trip here, my sister-in-law’s co-workers bought some for a red-eye flight snack back to Boston– said snack was at least a baker’s dozen of cookies.

Perhaps in an effort to make her share of the cookie load more bearable, my sister-in-law left us a bag of 3 cookies, a mix of chocolate chunk and peanut butter cookies. (Un)fortunately, the baggy didn’t provide enough structural support for the hefty cookies so parts crumbled and mixed together. I’m not complaining– I greedily grabbed pinchfuls of cookie crumbs, mixing and matching and happily made my own cookie of sorts, peanut butter chocolate chunk.

But the bag of crumbs was gone too quickly, leaving a strong craving for more peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies. I ransacked our pantry and found I had almost all the necessary ingredients except one crucial thing: it turned out I did not have another bar of bittersweet chocolate as I had thought, just one measly ounce of one and a bag of mini-morsels. Not wanting to be wasteful, I soldiered on with what I had. I ended up with cookies that were crispy on the outside and had the texture of a shortbread, deep with peanut butter and molasses flavor (thanks to the brown sugar) and studded with chocolate. If you were lucky enough to get one with a chunk of chocolate then you were blessed with a little pool of slightly melted chocolate. I won’t claim these are as good as a Specialty’s cookie, but pour a cold glass of milk then chow down on a few of these still warm from the oven, and you will definitely be happy.

Note: I’ve adjusted ingredients below to what I would have used if I had enough of a chocolate bar in lieu of the mini morsels. If you like nuts in your peanut butter cookies, you can swap out the smooth peanut butter for a chunky one, but no matter what, be sure that you do not use natural style peanut butter for this. It just isn’t sweet/peanutty flavored enough for cookies.

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 oz bitter or semisweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl using an electric or kitchen stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every now and then. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the creamed mixture and mix until combined on low speed. Stir in chocolate pieces.

Scoop dough in rounded tablespoon portions and place on lined baking sheets about 1.5 inches apart. Carefully flatten the dough using your fingers or the bottom of a glass to about 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Yields 24 cookies.

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