big peanut butter chocolate chunk cookiesPosted: December 23, 2011 | |
A few weeks ago I was at the wonderful City Bakery with my friend Mimi, who saw what looked like giant peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies as we were ordering our hot chocolate. I’ve always made the little peanut butter cookies that are rolled in sugar and marked with a fork, and for some reason adding chocolate chips never occurred to me. The City Bakery cookies turned out to be vegan chocolate chip, and Mimi tried one despite the disappointing lack of peanut butter-y goodness. But ever since, I’ve had the idea of giant, soft, melty peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies stuck in my head.
These cookies aren’t exactly giant, but they were definitely bigger than the usual peanut butter cookies. You could make them bigger, and I kind of meant to, but the dough balls I was making looked a lot bigger to me than they ended up being. In any case, if you are stumped for last minute gifts or want one more batch of cookies for the holiday cookie stash, these cookies would be an excellent choice. With big chunks of bittersweet chocolate, a soft center, and nutty, salty peanut butter flavor to contrast with the sweetness, these are everything I imagined a big peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie could be.
Big Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
I decided to go with a good quality block of chocolate instead of chocolate chips here. Block chocolate and chocolate chips have different melting properties – chips are meant to keep their shape when baked in cookies, while block chocolate is just meant to melt. I love using blocks of chocolate in cookies, because chopping the chocolate creates lots of tiny chocolate shavings, so you end up with at least a little bit of chocolate in every bite, and giant chunks of chocolate in some bites. You should use conventional peanut butter here, not natural (at least not the natural kinds where the oil separates from the peanut butter – I’ve seen peanut butters marketed as “natural” which are thoroughly blended, and those would be fine). I think these would also be nice with some toasted, chopped peanuts mixed in (or you could use chunky peanut butter). I wanted purely soft cookies this time, but in the future I’ll probably try adding some nuts myself. To ensure that these stay soft in the center, you should underbake them – they won’t look quite done when they come out. I give the times that worked in my mother’s oven (sadly without my trusty oven thermometer), but ovens differ a lot, so you should always check cookies early and often to see how they’re doing.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 oz. total) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (see note above; chunky or smooth would work here)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
2 large eggs
6 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely (I used Green & Black’s 70%), or 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Makes about 25 big cookies
Preheat oven to 350F/177C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper, butter the baking sheet).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, if you are using a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat for one more minute. Add both sugars and beat for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for one minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the dry ingredients. Mix just until the flour disappears. Do not overmix, or you will have tough cookies. I found it helpful to do this in three steps to avoid creating a dust storm with the flour – I added a third of the flour and pulsed the mixer a few times, added another third, and so on, until all the flour was incorporated. Add the chocolate chips, and mix just until they are evenly distributed.
Pour some granulated sugar into a shallow bowl or onto a plate. Form the dough into 2 inch balls (or bigger, if you want truly giant cookies – but they will take longer to bake). The dough will be very soft and sticky, so you will end up with some of it stuck to your hands. Roll each ball in the sugar. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between them. Before putting the cookies into the oven, smush the balls of dough a bit with your hand or the bottom of a cup – peanut butter cookies won’t spread as much in the oven as normal chocolate chip cookies do. Bake on a center rack for 15-17 minutes, turning the pan from front to back once during the baking time. The cookies should look soft, very lightly browned, and not quite done when you take them out. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack. As soon as they have cooled enough to eat without burning yourself, eat one!
Once they have cooled entirely, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Mine are still beautifully soft the day after I baked them [Update: still soft five days after baking!], and are great at room temperature, but you can also heat them in the microwave for about 15 seconds to melt the chocolate again. Enjoy the cookies, and the holidays!
Adapted from Joy the Baker