Despite usually using British words for things (unless I’ve been talking to an American for longer than about 20 minutes) – rubbish, a bin, crisps, chips and scones rather than trash, a trash can, chips, fries and biscuits – I use the words biscuit and cookie interchangeably to describe the same thing. I think I use biscuit more often but sometimes cookie just sounds better. Chocolate chip biscuit really doesn’t have the same ring as chocolate chip cookie. Cookie certainly sounds more appropriate when describing something that I strongly associate with the US… such as peanut butter. Peanut butter biscuits just doesn’t sound right, it’s almost like an oxymoron to sandwich together very American peanut butter and terribly British biscuit. Peanut butter cookies, on the other hand, sound perfect and scrumptious to boot. In case it’s not clear, I love peanut butter cookies. But I don’t have a trusty go-to recipe for them (which is a serious problem in my life, but probably also good for my health).
When I saw a recipe for peanut butter chocolate-surprise cookies I just knew I had to try it. I love baked goods with surprises in the middle (like these white chocolate strawberry-surprise muffins), and I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate so really it was a no-brainer. The cookies ended up a little larger and more spread out than I was expecting, but they were delicious, so I’m not going to complain!! There’s just the perfect amount of peanut butter flavour, they’re not too sweet and the chocolate surprise centre works wonderfully – I initially tried with dark chocolate, but I really think that milk chocolate works better with peanut butter (and I’m not usually a fan of milk chocolate when it comes to baking). I tried a couple of these without the chocolate centre and they make tasty peanut butter cookies in their own right. If I’m honest, I won’t be baking them on a regular basis because of the freezing-and-waiting faff (although I did read a whole paper whilst they were doing their thing), but they’ll definitely be making an occasional appearance in situations involving cookies (and people without peanut allergies).
Peanut butter chocolate-surprise cookies
Makes 12 cookies
Adapted from My San Francisco Kitchen
Since these cookies need to stay as cool as possible, I would recommend keeping this recipe for the cooler days of autumn and winter (though Scottish “summers” shouldn’t be too much of an issue…). I used crunchy peanut butter, but smooth peanut butter would work just as well in this recipe, so just use whichever you prefer and have available. If you don’t like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, these cookies are also delicious without the chocolate centre. The cookies will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.
95g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
55g brown sugar
45g caster sugar
45g unsalted butter, softened
85g unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter
6 small squares of milk chocolate
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and two sugars together in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add the peanut butter and egg and mix together on medium speed. When fully incorporated, add the flour a bit at a time, mixing on low speed.
3. Once the mixture is well blended, form the dough into a log with floured hands and wrap in cling film (it gets a bit sticky, even with floured hands, so if necessary, just wrap it in the cling film and form it into a rough log – it doesn’t have to be super neat anyway so don’t worry too much about it). Place in the freezer for an hour.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. If necessary, cut the chocolate squares in half or quarters (they have to small enough to be wrapped in the cookie dough, mine were about 1 x 0.5 x 0.5 cm)
5. Working quickly to keep the cookies as cold as possible, remove the dough from the freezer and split equally into 12. Press one piece of chocolate into the middle of each piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball around the chocolate and space out on the baking sheet, flattening each one slightly and making a pattern with a fork. If the cookies get too warm and melty, pop them in the freezer for about 5 mins (or the fridge for 10-15 mins if you discover that your baking trays don’t actually fit into your tiny freezer…).
6. Bake for 10-12 mins, allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.