Peanut butter cups are one of those candies that has such a great ratio of salty-to-sweet that they are quite addictive. I find this to be particularly true of peanut butter cups made with dark chocolate, where you get the salty, the sweet and a rich, slightly bitter cocoa note. I’m a particular fan of the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, but as I noted before, they can be addictive and are pretty dangerous to keep in the kitchen. I say that they are dangerous because I have been known to eat a few too many – but I also know that they have a tendency to disappear if I leave the container unguarded for too long, too. These Bite Sized Peanut Butter Cup Cookies are one of my favorite way to put those peanut butter cups to good use and turn a candy that is good on its own into a cookie that just might be even more addictive.
These cookies start with my usual peanut butter cookie dough, which is divided into mini muffin pans and topped with a peanut butter cup before baking. As the cookie dough bakes, it rises up around the peanut butter cups. The result is a cookie that is crisp on the edge, chewy in the center and filled with that delicious salty-sweet peanut butter and chocolate combination. I will sometimes add a few grains of salt to the tops of the peanut butter cups to really contrast with the chocolate, but that is completely optional.
You need to use the bite size peanut butter cups for this recipe, as they are just the right size to fit into the mini muffin pans. Both milk chocolate and dark chocolate peanut butter cups are good options. There are also white chocolate peanut butter cups out there, but those are likely too sweet for this particular recipe. The finished cookies need to cool completely before moving them out of the baking sheet, as the peanut butter cups may be somewhat liquid after their time in the oven and the cookies could break if you move them before they are set. The cookies are delicious while still slightly warm, but can also be stored in an airtight container and enjoyed for a few days after baking (or as long as they last!).
Bite Sized Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
36 peanut butter cups (pref. dark chocolate pb cups)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 36 mini muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, followed by the peanut butter. With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate flour mixture until dough comes together.
Drop 1 tablespoon of dough into each prepared mini muffin cup. Take a peanut butter cup (unwrapped) and press it firmly dough into the dough until the dough rises almost to the top of the peanut butter cup.
Bake for about 14-16 minutes, until the edges of the cookie dough start to brown slightly. Allow cookies to cool completely in the pan. The peanut butter cups themselves may sink as they cool, so don’t worry if they do.
When cookies are cool, serve immediately or store in an airtight container.