Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better) – A Beloved Cookie Recipe with a Halloween Theme…

Whimsical milk and cookies illustration by Joana Miranda

A few years ago, my cellist friend Peter S. brought over a batch of cookies he’d made.  We loved them so much, that the next time he brought them, he included the recipe.  Martha Stewart deserves the credit for the recipe; but since it’s almost fool-proof, you too will be dubbed a culinary goddess if you make these.  Reese’s mini peanut butter cups are the featured star, so I think this just might be the perfect Halloween cookie.

Photo of Reese's mini peanut butter cups

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Makes 36 ♦ Prep Time: 20 Minutes ♦ TOTAL TIME: 50 Minutes

Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  Adding marshmallows to the container will prevent the cookies from drying out.

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough

36 mini chocolate peanut-butter cups, chilled and unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350°.  In a mixing bowl, cream peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.

3. Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls.  Place granulated sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely.  Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.

4. Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly, about 7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Press one peanut-butter cup in center of each cookie.  Return to oven; continue baking until cookies are golden brown and chocolate has begun to melt, about 6 minutes more.  Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.

Note: For chewier cookies, refrigerate the balls of dough on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before placing in oven.

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