Filed under: Cookies / Stuffed Cookies
December 2, 2022

Magic in the Middle Cookies

A chocolate peanut butter cup, in cookie form! These chewy chocolate peanut butter cookies (a dough made in one bowl, with just a whisk) are filled with a smooth, sweet & salty peanut butter filling. 

4.82 from 11 votes
Yield: 16 cookies
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Recipe Overview 


I’m not sure who first invented the magic in the middle cookie; the earliest version of these I can find is by PJ Hamel & Susan Reid, but there’s also mention of it elsewhere as a clipping from an older magazine. 


My introduction to them was simultaneously from Deb and KAB (KAB’s is also a PJ Hamel recipe). Almost all the recipes you can find for these online are quite similar in terms of ingredients and quantities (save Deb’s which has more cocoa in the cookie); and they result in a soft but thick cookie, with a mix of powdered sugar and peanut butter inside (as you would when making homemade peanut butter cups). 


How this magic in the middle cookie recipe is a little different than others


I love a peanut butter chocolate combo but the standard magic in the middle cookie as it’s been made so far has always left me a tad dissatisfied. Instead of thick and a bit cakey like, with a thick almost dry filling, I wanted a cookie base that was more fudgy and chewy, with a smooth almost melty middle. 


You may note that this chocolate monster cookie dough is very similar but instead uses all purpose flour and I’ve changed up the leavening a bit so they will have more power to spread against that peanut butter & chocolate dough. 


Key Recipe Ingredients


Peanut Butter: It’s really important to use a commercial brand of creamy peanut butter (the oil should not have separated). I use Jiff Natural or Skippy Creamy. Other brands may give you a slightly different cookie than pictured (some have more sugar). 


Flour: All purpose flour of at least 11% protein content. I use KAB AP. 


Cocoa: Dutch process cocoa. I like Hershey’s Special Dark, Ghirardelli’s Dutch, or Rodelle’s Dutch. And if you can get it, Guittard makes a heavenly Cocoa Rogue. 


Maple Syrup:  To sweeten without thickening the peanut butter layer I add maple syrup. You could also use honey. If you wanted to leave it out for a pure pb layer that’s fine too. 


Magic In the Middle Cookies: Filling Options 


While traditionally made with peanut butter (by tradition I think it’s been no more than a decade) you could use another nut butter like sunflower butter or cashew butter. 


Also yes, you can totally just stuff a peanut butter cup in there! 

Recipe for Magic Middle Cookies aka Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies Stuffed with Peanut Butter


Magic in the Middle Cookies

Chocolate peanut butter cookies stuffed with oozing peanut butter.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Yields: 16 cookies
4.82 from 11 votes


Peanut Butter Middle

  • 180g peanut butter creamy about 3/4 cups
  • 20g or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch salt

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie

  • 113g or ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 210g or 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 50g creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 50g or ½ cup dutch process cocoa
  • 120g or 1 cup all purpose flour fluff the flour and sprinkle into the cup if using volume measurements (do not pack it in!)


  • Mix together the peanut butter and maple syrup. Dollop 1 tablespoon of the mix onto a small plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Set in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm them up.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave (don't let it sputter less you lose any liquid). Add the sugar and whisk very well.
  • Add the peanut butter, salt, vanilla and egg and whisk the mixture very well.
  • Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and fold with a rubber spatula.
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave on the counter for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two standard size cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • If you’d like to do a sugared topping, mix together ¼ cup granulated sugar and a pinch of salt.
  • Scoop cookie dough onto cookie sheet, about 1.5-2 tablespoons per cookie.
  • Press a mound of cookie dough with your thumbs to flatten to make room for the peanut butter, and place the pb in the center then wrap the dough around. Roll the ball between your palms to smooth it out. Once placed onto the cookie sheet use your two fingers to flatten slightly (this will help them spread). Dip in the sugar if using. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    These cookies are awesome! My family loves Reese’s and these are basically the cookie version! I have used this recipe twice and they have turned out great both times! I followed the directions exactly and used a scale to measure all the ingredients! I will be making them again and again!

  2. 3 stars
    I’m sure these taste delicious hence the 3 stars, but they spread out like pancakes, I followed the directions to a T. To me the dough seemed way too soft and probably should have been chilled or not left out for 30 mins.

  3. 5 stars
    These cookies are delicious! The outside is delicious and chocolate-y, and then you get hit with delicious, salty PB! I sprinkled some Maldon sea salt on top, and that just blew them out of the park. I took them to a picnic, and they were some of the first desserts to go! Everybody was raving about them and asking who made them! This recipe is definitely a keeper. These cookies are so easy to make, not too sweet, and totally a crowd favorite!

  4. 5 stars
    Made these for a get together and I couldn’t believe a) how quickly they came together and b) how AMAZING they were! Every friend who tried one got wide eyed and immediately said holy moly that’s delicious. My husband claimed them as his favorite cookie ever. Bravo.

  5. 5 stars
    These were so good! The texture of the sugar coated cookie with the creamy peanut butter is perfect.

  6. 5 stars
    I don’t even know how to express how delicious these cookies are. The peanut butter stays soft and gooey in the center and really smacks you with PB flavor. Also loved the addition of salt in the sugar coating — don’t skip that part!

  7. 5 stars
    I made these as part of my holiday cookie boxes and they were delicious! Everyone loved them! Thanks for the great recipe.

  8. Hi! So excited to make these for Christmas! I wanted to know if you think it would be okay to prep the cookie dough and peanut butter portion today and store it overnight in the fridge for baking tomorrow. Thank you!!

  9. Hi Sam! Love your cookie recipes. Do you think the dough for this one could be portioned and frozen, and baked from frozen (or slightly thawed)?

    • Hi! I do, once you have them coated in sugar (or if you aren’t doing that, wrapped around the peanut butter) you can flash freeze them on a plate then into a ziplock bag for longer. I’d add a few more minutes to the bake time in this case