May 5, 2023

Thick Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Thick, super chewy peanut butter cookies made with chunky peanut butter and studded with chunks of milk chocolate. The dough scoops are coated in a mix of sugar and salt for a flavorful, crispy outer texture. These cookies have a unique shaping method that gives them a thick chewy, fudgy center.

4.97 from 26 votes
Yield: 12 cookies
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Like you, I grew up with only one peanut butter cookie: you make it and before you bake it you press down with a fork, criss crossed. I always just took this for granted, this is how peanut butter cookies are made… right? But why don’t we ever press down on a brown sugar or a regular sugar cookie? After making many a cookie I can tell you that the answer is that peanut butter stops the dough from spreading in the oven, so we ‘pre-press’ it. 

But I’ve found a new way to bake peanut butter cookies and I think it’s better because we’re going to allow the cookie dough to bake as it will without pressing but then we’re going to squash the air out after baking. This is going to lead to a thicker, fudgier cookie with an honestly, freaking deliciously thick, chunky center. 

So goodbye fork marks, hello fudgy disks of chunky peanut butter studded with bits of smooth, sweet milk chocolate. 

 

A note on origins

To create this recipe I started working from my small batch peanut butter cookies. Predictably, the cookies weren’t spreading despite some of the modifications I was making in hopes it would. After the first batch went in, I pressed them down as soon as they came out of the oven just because I couldn’t stand the idea of a domed cookie, lol. The next batch I pressed down before baking – but as I compared them, I found the post-bake press was so much better! The controlled spread during the bake along with the press after, led to more of that chewy center

 

 

Why these are the best peanut butter chocolate cookies

 

I kinda hate doing this and I’m not always confident enough to put it in writing… but I actually do think these might be are the best thick peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, ever. Let me make my case: 

 

  • They taste of delicious, salty nutty peanut butter. There’s enough peanut butter in here that it’s not like pb was added to a regular chocolate chip cookie but that this cookie could only ever be peanut butter. 
  • Chunky pb & milk chocolate: you can use creamy if you like, but that added little crunch is truly wonderful here, and we’re pairing it with smooth milk chocolate that gives the peanut butter chocolate cup taste
  • They’re thick, fudgy, and chunky: the genius of this recipe lies in a few of it’s unusual features: using melted butter (which leads to a fudgier cookie rather than airy and light), baking a thick, domed cookie which we are then going to squash to push all the air out of so it keeps it thickness, but it will be dense and well, fudgy !
  • The recipe is made in one bowl and the chilling time is minimal; just enough to hydrate the flour, thicken the dough, and allow the flavors to intensify. 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie Recipe Ingredients 

 

Peanut Butter: When it comes to cookies, my preference is always for a conventional brand like Jiff or Skippy (Justin’s will do too) because they deliver pretty consistent results. Natural brands, where the oil is separated, are not ideal because you risk not getting enough of or getting too much of the oil. If you would like to use creamy instead of chunky, go ahead (to be safe, reduce the peanut butter by about 5 grams). 

 

Butter: I used salted european butter and recommend it; the extra butterfat percentage adds to the taste and chewy texture of the cookie. Unsalted is fine too, just add another pinch of salt to the recipe. 

 

Sugar: We’re doing a mix of brown and granulated. I use dark brown for these cookies (extra flavor and moisture, more of that toffee taste) but light works too. Avoid organic as it doesn’t have enough moisture. 

 

Egg & yolk: Large. No need to bring them to room temperature. The extra egg white can be used to make some double chocolate chunk cookies ; -) 

 

Flour: all purpose, I use King Arthur. If you use a brand with a lower protein content the cookies might spread a bit more (but no harm in that here). 

 

Chocolate: Chop up a good quality milk chocolate bar (from the candy aisle – not baking). It should be something you enjoy eating on its own. For one of my final versions of the cookies I used a milk chocolate with crispy rice bits and it was wonderful. 

 

How to make Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies 

 

Melt the butter & peanut butter: I like to start by melting the butter first, but not fully. Once it’s halfway I’ll add the peanut butter and return the bowl to the microwave and set it for another 30 seconds. It’s usually enough to get it so the peanut butter and butter can be swiftly whisked together. 

 

Whisk in the sugar: Both sugars and the flavorings (vanilla and salt) need to be whisked very well, to the point where the sugar begins to dissolve into the butter mix. 

 

Whisk in the egg & yolk: an emulsion needs to happen in this step, so you need to whisk until the mixture looks cohesive and shiny – there should be no visible separation of oil from the sugar. 

 

Add dry ingredients: Add the flour & soda, but don’t mix it fully before you add the chocolate. Doing it this way stops you from overmixing the dough. The chocolate should be in a mix of chunks and little bits that will help it distribute well throughout each cookie. 

 

Chill & bake: The rest or chill time is to allow the flour to hydrate and the dough to come together. 

 

What went wrong? Troubleshooting 

 

The cookies spread too much: This can happen for a few reasons; there was too much butter, the batter didn’t rest enough, the flour was under-measured (or a very low-protein content), or the peanut butter itself has more oil in it than a conventional brand. 

 

The cookies didn’t spread at all: These cookies are not designed to spread much, they will some but mostly they will rise and dome. Once they are done baking you’ll be pressing down on them to spread them into a thick, even layer. 

 

The cookies are dry: There was too much flour or the dough was left out (or chilled) too long while not covered. 

 

The cookies are too sweet: The only scenario I see this happening is if you’ve used a sweet milk chocolate that you don’t particularly like on its own. Also, you can leave off the sugar topping if you like. 

 

The cookies aren’t sweet enough: There is a delicious mix of sweet and salty in this recipe and that’s kind of the point when it comes to a peanut butter cookie. If you want to make sure they are sweet enough, use a milk chocolate bar you like eating. 

 

Freezing the dough 

Make the cookies up to the point of scooping and tossing in the sugar & salt mixture. Set them on a plate or tray and freeze them for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container to freeze longer term. Add a couple of minutes to the total baking time.

 



Thick Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

Sweet & salty, thick & chewy chunky peanut butter cookies with bits of milk chocolate.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Yields: 12 cookies
4.97 from 26 votes

Ingredients

  • 113g or ½ cup salted european butter if using unsalted, add another pinch of salt to the dough
  • 135g or ½ cup chunky peanut butter preferably a conventional brand like Skippy or Jiff
  • 100g or ½ cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 50g or ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
  • 190g or 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 100g milk chocolate chopped into a mix of fine and large chunks

Method

  • In a heatproof bowl set in the microwave, partially melt the butter. Add the peanut butter and warm it for another 30 seconds until it’s all soft enough to whisk.
  • Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, soda and vanilla and whisk very well - for about 3 full minutes.
  • Add the egg and yolk and whisk for another minute. Add the flour and whisk until just half of it is mixed in. Switch to a rubber spatula and add the milk chocolate and mix to fully combine. Don't cover the bowl but stick it in the fridge for an hour or two (if leaving for longer than 2 hours, cover it with plastic wrap).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two greased baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with a pinch of fine sea salt.
  • Scoop rounds of cookie dough, about 3 tablespoons each onto the prepared cookie sheet. As you scoop, dip them face down into the sugar & salt mixture.
  • Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, until they are golden around the edges. They won’t spread much but they’ll dome.
  • As soon as you take the tray out of the oven, use the back of a measuring cup to gently but firmly press down on the cookies into an even layer. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring off the cookie sheet.
  • Store in an airtight container. Cookies keep well for about 3 days.

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28 comments

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Recipe Reviews




  1. 4 stars
    I love peanut butter, so I like a strong peanut taste in peanut butter cookies…I did not think these had enough peanut flavor. Followed the recipe to a T and used Skippy chunky pb. Sadly the taste was overall a bit bland and underwhelming.
    That said, the texture of the cookies is great – soft on the inside, crunchy and crisp on the outside.

  2. These are amazing. I’ve made them about four or five times now because they’re super easy with such a great reward. The last batch I made was for family on Christmas and I ended up using dark Lindt chocolate (I usually use a milk chocolate Lindt). Both versions are lovely and very moreish. Have been asked for the recipe every time they’ve been made. It’s a winner!

  3. 5 stars
    Family loved these super moist cookies !! love peanut butter and chocolate together ❤️ , I did omit the sugar and salt encrusted step at the end because I thought it was going a bit overboard – end result was just perfect, these will be my go-to from now on! !!

  4. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS! Simple but leveled up. I mixed chopped milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips and the combo did us well. I didn’t sprinkle extra sea salt on top but I would next time. This will be made on repeat! Thank you!

  5. All the ingredients are good, but the method is not typical. It is more difficult than it needs to be. The cookies are dry, crumbly and the taste is not terrific. Frankly, they are not worth eating. I have been making cookies for over 60 years and I rarely have one that doesn’t turn out well. I went back to the recipe that I got from the newspaper about thirty years ago.

  6. Hi! I would love to try freezing these, I’m feeling unsure, would I dip in sugar before freezing or after? Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Sam is really killing it with these Smash PBCs! I love peanut butter cookies but no matter how good the bake or how much moisture is built into the recipe they are always a teensy bit dry, sort of a dusty quality if you will; it’s simply the nature of baking with peanut butter. But this recipe is super hydrated and with her trick of knocking the air out of the cookies to eliminate that airy-dustiness… well, it’s basically genius. Salty sweet crispy fudgey! I may never make the classic style again.

  8. 5 stars
    Amazing. These should go down in history as the new official way to make peanut butter cookies. I used smooth peanut butter and semisweet chocolate chips as that’s what I had on hand.

  9. 5 stars
    Omg!! I NEVER remember to write reviews but these cookies are hard to forget! My new “go to” cookie recipe for sure.

  10. 5 stars
    These were easy to mix up and turned out so delish. I used creamy peanut butter because it’s what I had on hand but now I want to try it with crunchy.

  11. 5 stars
    WOW. These cookies are amazing. All the PB cookies I have ever had have always been slightly dry and crumbly, don’t taste a ton like peanut butter, have the stereotypical fork marks on top, etc. I was about done making them when I stumbled across this recipe. These cookies are soft, moist, and slightly cakey. The PB flavor is out of this world, and adding chocolate chunks brings them to a whole other level. I use a mix of milk and dark chocolate chips and chunks. A sprinkly of sea salt on the top brings out the peanut butter even better. I have made these SO many times and I have not met anyone who does not like them yet. What’s more, I made these for my county fair, and they one first! They also bake very well from frozen- I made the dough balls and froze them that way, then baked them totally frozen when I wanted them. This recipe is a real winner… you will NOT regret making these!

  12. 5 stars
    OH. EM. GEE. How did it take me this long to try chunky peanut butter in pb cookies?? These are my new favorite cookies EVER!! They’re super easy to make and the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate flavor is perfect. The thick chewiness from pressing them down gives one of the most satisfying bites I’ve ever had.

  13. 5 stars
    This cookies were everything I was hoping they would be. Absolute perfection!! Just the right amount of peanut butter taste but not overly sweet. Thick, soft, chewy cookies. My only wish is that the recipe made more than a dozen cookies per batch.

  14. 5 stars
    Yum! Just made these cookies with my sister, and we LOVED the strong, peanut-butter notes and fudgy texture! A few notes: we made this with creamy peanut butter, and agree with Sam’s original recipe using crunchy, which we think would have created more textural interest! We also would add EVEN more chocolate (we are chocolate lovers though)! We think perhaps another 25 to 50 grams of chocolate could do the trick, perhaps mixing in some semisweet to cut through the flavor a bit more? Overall, excellent, excellent! The sugar and salt mixture is worth the extra step! (We made a few with and without just to compare)

  15. 5 stars
    These are great! I used creamy PB as that’s what I had on hand. I’m at 5000′ ft elevation, so I made a few adjustments for altitude: I reduced the sugars by 10% and the baking soda by 25% and baked them at 360. They turned out beautifully–definitely will make again!

  16. 5 stars
    These are AMAZING cookies! So rich and flavorful! We enjoyed them so much – and the instructions are great, so it’s easy to get the great results. One is definitely enough, but I definitely ate two once. Or twice. With the last ones (we baked 3 at a time each night for a couple nights), we added more milk chocolate, because my family loves chocolate…and that was also great – would do it again, but not necessary to add more! Definitely recommend!

  17. 5 stars
    I have made these twice in a week! I don’t like peanut butter (I know!!) but my family and friends all do so I gave these a try. At least weekly I bake some kind of treat so we have become fairly picky about which recipes are “keepers” and this one is definitely a keeper. Readily available ingredients, clear instructions and, per the feedback, awesome big, chewy, cookies.

  18. 5 stars
    No words! Well that’s not happening…….I could go that route to simply say these were perfection. But there is much to say….your roadmap to make these was as perfect as the resulting cookie. I followed the gram weights, and the only diff was a visual clue when it came to the baking time. I needed 18 minutes. I stared at the finished cookies way too long, because I kept comparing to how yours came out. In this case, we were “twinsies”…The various sized pieces of milk chocolate ended up appearing as if it were somehow stuffed into the dough in a complicated manner. Clearly this is anything but a difficult recipe. That being said, these are just outrageous. While gorging on TWO of these for dessert, I remember thinking that I will never go back to making those thumbprint type of peanut butter cookies where you embed a chocolate kiss. While they are fine enough, what you’ve shared is the penultimate peanut butter/milk chocolate experience. Sam, you are gold for this one.

  19. 5 stars
    These are excellent. I knew they would be amazing as soon as I tasted the dough. I love peanuts and chocolate, but I’m not a fan of traditional peanut cookies. These blow the traditional recipe away. I bought Aldi brand chunky peanut butter, but now that I know how they should taste, I’m curious to try my homemade peanut butter, which does not separate.

  20. 5 stars
    AMAZING. Felt like making cookies this evening and decided on these. They’re wonderful. The only thing I left out was the salt from the salt/sugar mixture, since I don’t do well with extra salt on the surface of things. They’re perfect! This is one of those recipes I’m going to print for my recipe book.

  21. Hello..have not made yet. Just wanted to ket you know the conversion when going from 12 cookies to 24..only works for grams not cups. Example 1/2 cup remains the same does not change to 1 cup

  22. 5 stars
    OMG sooo good!! I’m always excited to try one of your new recipes! I used creamy PB and used Hershey mini baking kisses. I didn’t even coat in sugar. They were perfect!!! I also left with a slight dome instead of pressing down. They’re perfect! Thank you for your consistent amazing recipes!!! ❤️