When I decided to try my hand at this year’s million-dollar Pillsbury recipe, Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies, I tweaked the prize-winning recipe by using a homemade peanut butter cookie dough in place of the refrigerated dough that the winning recipe called for. The change was a great idea and, while I’m sure that the store-bought dough cookies were good, I doubt that they were quite as good as the homemade version – especially since I’m a big fan of the plain peanut butter base I used. After making another couple of batches of the original recipe, I started to wonder what other changes I could introduce for a little variety.
I opted to try a chocolate filling inside the peanut butter base because chocolate-filled peanut butter cookies just sounded like a good idea. I made the filling first, adding cocoa powder to the peanut butter filling. I used both confectioners’ sugar and regular, granulated sugar because I felt that granulated sugar would give the filling a bit more of a fudgy consistency when baked. I also added in a small amount of very finely chopped chocolate to round out the flavor. Chocolate chips – even mini chocolate chips – are not a good substitution because the filling needs to be smooth.
The result was very good. I’ll admit that peanut butter is still the strongest flavor in these cookies by far, but the chocolate adds a nice touch. The center is a bit fudgier than the very-creamy plain peanut butter center of the original cookies, too. The filling was not too sweet at all, which I really liked, and it seemed like the chopped chocolate had a big impact when I compared it to the cookies I left that element out of. I used a 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate and would recommend something similar.
Chocolate-Filled Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
PB Cookie Dough
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth, national brand)
Filling and Topping
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy, national brand)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp confectioners’/powdered sugar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped chocolate (semisweet/bittersweet)
Make the cookie dough. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Beat in egg, followed by the vanilla and peanut butter.
Gradually add in dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.
Spoon dough onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper, shape into a roll about 3-inches in diameter and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prepare topping and filling. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
In another small bowl, stir peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugars and chopped chocolate until smooth. If mixture is very wet (this may be the case if it is very hot outside), add an additional tsp or two of confectioners’ sugar. Shape mixture 20 small (1/2 inch) balls and place each on a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
Remove cookie dough from fridge. Cut the log lengthwise in half, then make 10 horizontal cuts to slice the dough into a total of 20 even pieces. Each piece should be a semi-circle in shape.
Flatten each piece of dough and place a peanut butter ball into it. Shape each cookie dough piece around the filling, making sure to cover the ball completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
Roll each ball in peanut-sugar mixture and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between balls. Use a flat-bottomed drinking glass to flatten the cookies down to 1/4-inch thickness.
Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 20 large cookies