Chocolate and peanut butter have an interesting relationship. The flavors pair well together in just about every application you can think of, from candies and cookies to the simple, decadent late-night-snack of peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches. The interesting thing is how delicate the balance between chocolate and peanut butter really is. It’s easy to use a too-sweet milk chocolate and make sugar the overly dominant flavor in the pairing. It’s equally easy to use a dark chocolate that is too aggressive, or in too large a quantity, and will overwhelm the peanut butter flavor.
As long as you keep the goal of getting a good peanut butter flavor and an equally good, not dominant, chocolate flavor, it’s not too hard to put together things like homemade peanut butter cups. Other recipes may be a bit harder to adapt and when I set out to make a chocolate peanut butter cookie, I knew that I wanted to start with a cookie base that had a very prominent peanut butter flavor.
My favorite flourless peanut butter cookies fit the bill. The recipe is primarily peanut butter, sugar and egg and almost nothing competes with the straight peanut butter flavor. I added a smallish amount of cocoa powder to the batter to make it a chocolate one. The cocoa powder has a very good chocolate flavor; it is my favorite way to boost the chocolate profile of a recipe. Plus, it does little else to the chemistry of the recipe, while something like melted chocolate adds more solids and more fat to the batter.
The resulting cookies were outstanding. They were chewy, with a hint of crunch on the outside, and were as addictive as any peanut butter and chocolate candy I’ve had. I used crunchy, organic peanut butter to get small pieces of peanut into the cookies (a non-organic national brand, like Jif or Skippy, will work just fine in this recipe, too) and stirred in some peanut butter and chocolate swirled chips (a product from Nestle), too. You can use plain chocolate chips if you want things to lean more towards the chocolate side, or peanut butter chips if you want more peanut.
Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (natural or national brand)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
1/2- 3/4 cup chocolate and/or peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and water until smooth.
In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients, including cocoa powder and water mixture. Add chocolate chips at the end of mixing.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a moistened finger.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes at 350 F, until golden brown at the edges.
Cool on pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen.