This weekend, I was gifted a big bag of delicious bite-sized brownies. There were more than I could eat and I started to look for other applications for the brownies. I often mix brownies into batches of frozen yogurt and ice cream. Could they be mixed into a cake? Into cookies? As it turns out, they can be mixed into cookies, as my search for inspiration turned up a recent magazine article that used the very idea. My first thought when I saw the recipe was along the lines of “if only I had thought of this a few weeks ago, before the magazine came out!” My second thought was that the combination of cookies and brownies sounded so good that I couldn’t resist trying my own. Instead of brownies in place of chocolate chips in a regular chocolate chip cookie, I made peanut butter cookies and mixed them in.
The brownies add a really interesting dimension to the cookies. The chocolate flavor is a little bit more subtle than with chocolate chips because there is no contrasting texture between the cookies and the baked in brownies. The brownies loose a tiny bit of fudginess during baking, taking on a little bit more of a soft-cookie type of texture. It’s almost like two types of cookies just suddenly got mixed up during baking, giving you a little bit of chocolate and a little bit of peanut butter. I like crunchy peanut butter, both for the added texture of the nuts and the extra nutty taste.
For the brownies chunks, it isn’t really worth baking a whole batch of brownies (unless you have people to help you eat those, too). Just set aside a couple of pieces the next time you bake – or just, uh, sneak a couple into a napkin the next time you’re at a party – and chop them up to incorporate into the cookies. Even store-bought brownies that have a good chocolate flavor will work, since the texture of the brownie doesn’t play a huge roll in the cookies. If there is such a thing as a “leftover brownie” this is a good use for it.
The cookies themselves are chewy, and have a satisfying peanut butter flavor. Make sure to take them out of the oven when the edges are golden, but the centers are not. This will really ensure that they stay chewy after cooling. If you like your cookies crispier, you can always bake them until they are just golden all over.
Brownie Chunk Peanut Butter Cookies
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 chunky peanut butter
1 – 1 1/2 cup brownie chunks, in 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, followed by the vanilla and chunky peanut butter. Gradually blend in dry ingredients and beat mixture on low speed until just combined. Stir in brownie chunks. Brownies will break up somewhat when stirred in.
Shape batter into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden around the edges.
Cool for 3-5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.