Take rich and chewy brownie cookies to the next level with a creamy peanut butter swirl! Both the peanut butter filling and cookie dough must chill before shaping. Review shaping success tips above the recipe.
Peanut Butter Filling
- 1/2 cup (125g) creamy peanut butter (see Note)
- 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar
- 8 ounces (226g) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (2 standard 4-ounce bars of baking chocolate)
- 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (21g) natural unsweetened or dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons; 72g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Make the peanut butter filling: In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar together until combined and smooth. You can just use a spoon for this. Mixture is thick, yet soft. With a teaspoon, scoop out a spoonful of peanut butter mixture (about 6g), and roll into a ball. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, plate, or tray. Repeat with remaining mixture until you have 24 peanut butter balls. Loosely cover and freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. (I usually just freeze them for a little over 1 hour, which is the amount of time it takes to make and chill the brownie cookie dough.)
- Make the brownie cookie dough: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or use the microwave. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring after each until completely melted. Set aside to slightly cool.
- Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl, then beat on high for 1 more minute. Pour in the slightly cooled melted chocolate and mix on medium-high speed for 2 full minutes. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined.
- Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour. If chilling for longer, allow the cookie dough to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before rolling and shaping in step 6.
- After chilling, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Shape the cookies: The peanut butter filling softens up extremely quickly after you take it out of the freezer. I recommend taking about 6 peanut butter balls out of the freezer at a time, leaving the rest in the freezer while you’re shaping the first bunch. Using a sturdy tablespoon, scoop out a heaping spoonful of the cookie dough and roll into a ball, about 1.5 Tablespoons/30g/1 ounce of dough each. The dough will be quite stiff. Make an indentation with your thumb, and place a frozen peanut butter ball in the indentation. Pinch off a piece of the brownie cookie dough and press it on top of the peanut butter filling, and then roll the whole thing together into a smooth ball. Feel free to pull off pieces of brownie dough to expose more peanut butter and then re-roll together; peanut butter can also be hidden inside the cookie dough if you don’t want a marbled look. Repeat with remaining cookie dough and peanut butter balls. (Warning: your hands get messy in this step!)
- Place dough balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 12-13 minutes or until the edges appear set. The centers will be quite soft, but will set up as the cookies cool.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Cookies won’t spread as much if dough balls were frozen, so about halfway through bake-time, gently press down on the baking cookies with a spoon to help get them to spread. Learn some of my best practices for How to Freeze Cookie Dough.
- Peanut Butter: At the time of publication, there is a recall on Jif peanut butters. Please consider researching the recall information and use another brand of peanut butter in this recipe. We tested it with Skippy Creamy, Justin’s Natural Creamy, and Wegmans brand Natural Creamy. If using natural and the oil has separated to the top of the jar, make sure you stir it well before measuring. Room temperature peanut butter is easiest to mix. I do not recommend crunchy peanut butter because it doesn’t mix very easily with the confectioners’ sugar.
- Peanut Butter Alternatives: For a nut-free alternative, you can use Biscoff cookie butter or sunflower seed butter spread. My team and I have not tested this recipe with almond butter, but I don’t see any issue using that instead!
- Chocolate: Use pure chocolate baking bars. You can find them right next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle. They are sold in 4 ounce bars, so you’ll need 2. I use and recommend semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate (or a combination of any) for a darker chocolate flavor.
- Espresso Powder: Espresso powder deepens the chocolate flavor. You can skip it or use 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder instead.
Keywords: peanut butter brownie cookies