Peanut butter sandwich cookies

A long while back, I saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen featuring a recipe for peanut butter sandwich cookies.  It promised full-on peanut butter flavor, which caught my attention as I suspect it would any other PB lover.  Not long after that, Tricia from Saving Room for Dessert did a beautiful rendition of those cookies. That did it!  They left an impression on me and I would think of those cookies often, particularly at breakfast times when I'd be enjoying a nicely toasted English muffin slathered with crunchy peanut butter.  
Peanut butter sandwich cookies with peanut-butter and milk chocolate-peanut butter filling
What took me so long to finally make these?!  I don't know...maybe I was just torturing myself.  I have no real excuse for the delay so I'll just move on and say I finally made them recently and they did not disappoint.  There's so much peanut butter goodness wrapped up in one of these sandwich cookies!
The cookies themselves were better than I expected.  They are meant to be crisp and I worried about them being hard but they turned out crispy and...airy.  I would readily enjoy these cookies, imbedded with their bits of toasted peanuts, all by themselves...but the filling...it amps up the peanut butter flavor several notches and really drives it home! 
The simple peanut butter filling is made with creamy peanut butter, a little butter, and confectioners' sugar.  It's easy to make and easy to love for any PB fan (it's hard to stop eating it, actually).  In fact, the whole sandwich cookie package is rather easy to make!  You don't even need to use the mixer.
Besides the peanut butter filling, I couldn't resist trying a second, chocolate-peanut butter, one as well.  You know me with my chocolate obsession so I wanted to give it a try (hoping I'd get a Reese's pieces effect) but this is one case where I should have stuck with my gut and gone with the all-out peanut butter story.  My family and I all unanimously agree that the plain peanut butter filling was better.
Peanut butter and chocolate-peanut butter fillings.  The plain PB won hands-down!
There's no knowing without trying so the chocolate-peanut butter filling was worth a try.  We just thought it was a bit too sweet and the milk chocolate muted the peanut butter flavor more than we wanted when the theme here is definitely peanut butter, and more peanut butter!
You know something though?  When we ran out of the cookies with peanut butter filling, the chocolate-peanut butter ones started tasted better and better.  Maybe the key is to not offer/eat them together because everything's relative!
This is my way of showing some peanut-butter love and appreciation today.  I've been making up for lost time when it comes to PB.  I didn't grow up eating a lot of it and didn't really re-discover my love for PB until a few years ago when I started eating better and looking into healthier fats.  I began to trade my Nutella in for peanut butter (though both occupy its own space in the kitchen cupboard) and it's just a staple I need to have around.  I may not always enjoy peanut butter in cookie form but when the mood strikes, these cookies are a must-try!


It's a pleasant and welcomed surprise when sandwich cookies turn out to be easy to make!  I always expect a bit of a project and while there's obviously the additional step of making a filling, these cookies were not at all rigorous to put together.
No stand mixer needed to make the cookie batter.
You do have to toast and grind up some peanuts.  In my case, I couldn't find raw peanuts and settled for buying and using dry roasted peanuts (I should have been prepared given how long I waited to make these cookies!  And once the moment for action came, I was eager to get to it).  I made half the recipe (somewhat regretfully) and used my mini chopper for grinding the nuts; it may not result in the most evenly chopped bits of peanuts but I love the convenience.
The best part?  No rolling or cutting the dough!  Scoop cookie batter into 1-tablespoon size rounds, then use your wet fingers to mold them into 2-inch circles.  
Bake until cookies are nice and dark golden brown.  You'll have lovely crunchy, yet airy, peanut butter cookies.  They are very tasty on there own but a lot of the promised peanut butter flavor is in that "uncooked" filling.  So for the full PB experience, whip up the filling of your choice (I'd stick with the plain PB going forward).  The filling is very easy to make and requires little more than a spin in the microwave and some stirring.  When it's combined, and the cookies come together with the filling, you end up with a wonderfully satisfying cookie for any peanut butter lover.
Looking at these makes me want to make another batch!  Half the recipe made 11 sandwich cookies in my experience and they kept very well in an airtight container for 3 days.
This is another terrific America's Test Kitchen recipe.  Special thanks to Tricia for making the cookies so beautifully that I couldn't get them out of my head.  I knew I'd make them eventually and I'm so glad I did!


Recipe:

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

- Makes 22 sandwich cookies - 

For cookies:
1 1/4 cups (6.25 ounces) raw peanuts, toasted and cooled
3/4 cup (3.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed (3.5 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 large egg

For peanut butter filling*:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar

Make cookies: Adjust oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. 

Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped, about 8-10 pulses (be careful not to over grind them or the peanuts will turn into a paste).  Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, milk, and egg.  Using a rubber spatula, stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until just combined.  Stir in the peanuts until just incorporated.

Using a tablespoon measure (or a #60 scoop if you have it), scoop 12 evenly spaced mounds onto each prepared baking sheet.  Using damp hands, flatten mounds into 2-inch diameter rounds.  

Bake until deep golden brown and firm to the touch, about 15-18 minutes (I would keep a close eye on it near the end), rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven, let cookies cool for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Make filling: Microwave peanut butter and butter until butter is melted and mixture is warm, about 40 seconds.  Using a rubber spatula, stir in the confectioners' sugar until combined.  (You are looking for a spreadable yet firm filling.  You can try to hold back on some of the sugar at first, check for the right consistency, and use amount you find necessary.)  Use filling while warm since it was stiffen as it cools.

To put sandwich cookies together, place 1-level tablespoon of warm filling onto the flat (bottom) side of a cookie and placing another cookie (right side up) on top.  Press gently to spread the filling to the edges.  Allow the filling to set for 1 hour before serving.  Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

* Alternate milk chocolate-peanut butter filling: Gently melt 6 ounces of chopped milk chocolate in the microwave.  Warm 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter in the microwave.  Stir chocolate into peanut butter, then stir in up to 1 cup confectioners' sugar (start with about 3/4 cup and add enough to make a spreadable but warm filling).  Use while warm.





  



52 comments:

  1. I love that you tried a chocolate filling too - chocolate and peanut butter together is always amazing! So happy you made these cookies - they are peanut butter perfection :) Your photos are drool-worthy, gorgeous and have made me want to make these again - no half batch for me haha! Have a wonderful week Monica and thanks.

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    1. Tricia - thank you again! You made them so beautifully that I wouldn't/couldn't forget! These cookies are so good. When I think peanut butter cookies, these will be the first to come to mind (that, and monster cookies!). The half batch was probably not a smart idea but the only good thing about it is I was able to bake them all in one go. But now, I feel I just have to make them again and soon. Have a wonderful week!

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  2. I adore peanut butter cookies and sandwich cookies are even better! That means more peanut butter in every bite :) Love that you added a chocolate filling to a few of these too, it gives you more options depending on what you're craving :) I would love to sit down with a batch of these and a tall glass of milk, they look delicious!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! These are so rich with peanut butter flavor. If you love PB, you're bound to be a fan. Have a great week!

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  3. I saw these on Tricia's blog too, and thought they looked great! Now I'm determined to try them - my family would love these.

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    1. Yes - Tricia makes everything so beautifully and thoughtfully, Beth! : ) I'm not surprised you remember them from her blog! You have to make them. So darn tasty!

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  4. I saw these on Tricia's blog too, Monica, and I even handwrote down the recipe to try. Yours look just as great as hers, Monica.

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    1. See - Tricia is beyond convincing! : ) And thank you for the high compliment. These cookies are so good, Angie. Hope you try it as well.

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  5. wow, you should had your own brand of cookies my friend.....
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. You're too funny! Have a great week.

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  6. I remember loving these when Tricia posted them, and yours look just as tempting, I guess I'm going to be FORCED to give them a try, they image will be haunting me all day :)

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    1. haha - yes, consider this a reminder to please try these cookies. : )

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  7. Replies
    1. It's definitely for the peanut butter lover. : )

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  8. There used to be a peanut butter sandwich girl scout cookie that was my favorite!! These look so good! Peanut butter on top of peanut butter is the best thing ever :)

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    1. That's exactly it - peanut butter on top of peanut butter, or sandwiched with peanut butter. I can't get enough.

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  9. Oh man, the peanut butter lover in me is screaming make these now!!! haha I mean, I don't think I could ever get enough peanut butter. These look sooo good!

    Hope you had a great weekend!!

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    1. I swear that's exactly the thing about these cookies - they scream "make me" when you see them! ; ) You have a good one, Ashley. Stay warm. Is it spring yet??

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  10. These cookies look simply splendid ! I'm feeling like picking one up and taking a bite into,

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    1. It's easy to love if you're a PB fan. : )

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  11. I started baking with peanut butter quite late in life. On toast, never! These cookies sound and look perfect to use up all the peanut butter in my cupboard. Love that you tried a chocolate filling...I would have too:-) What a wonderful recipe!

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    1. haha - I didn't eat much peanut butter growing up but always liked it. In these last couple of years, I can't live without it. I don't bake with it much since I eat it (yes, on toasted English muffins) so much but it's great in cookies like this or in monster cookies, which I've come to love as well. : )

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  12. Given that PB is one of my favorite things in the entire world, I swear I could eat 7 dozen of these! Pinned!

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    1. haha - thanks. I figured I might be in the same position so I made half the recipe...but honestly, it just means I'll be making them again soon.

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  13. That tower of goodness will last at the most in our home. Looks really nice Monica. I like both the fillings, a bit biased to the chocolate one maybe. I have a couple of bottles of local organic peanut butter, I might make them soon. In fact to be honest, I've never made peanut butter cookies ever....really, don't know why..crazy me.
    Girl, your pictures are so perfect and showcase the cookies beautiful.
    xx

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    1. Thanks for the sweet words, Asha. I would claim a bias for anything with chocolate than without, but honestly, in this case...go with just peanut butter all the way! : )

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  14. These cookies look great Monica, and yes, I would love to try both versions...
    Enjoy your week :)

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    1. Thanks - you have a great one as well!

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  15. I could eat peanut butter every day. Love it! I'm sure I would love these cookies. I'm impressed by how perfectly round and all the same size they came out. Love that you don't need a mixer!

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    1. I know! It's so satisfying! : ) The recipe is great...I took a little time to make sure I flattened and rounded them off because I had a feeling they bake up just as you placed them in. No mixer is a crazy thought for sandwich cookies, I know!

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  16. Wow! This truly looks like a peanut butter lover's cookie dream come true (: I love the addition of ground peanuts into the batter! Saving this recipe for the future (:

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    1. The ground peanuts in the cookies was the thing that really hooked me into this recipe, too, Monica.

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  17. I'm a big sucker for peanut butter cookies. These look so good. I will definitely make these!

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    1. I would highly recommend it, Pamela. Knowing your love of PB, you will love them!

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  18. I really want to make these now! They sound fantastic and I have so much peanut butter in this household! :D

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    1. You can never have too much peanut butter in the pantry. I feel like it's a survival must-have to keep around. : ) That said, these cookies are a worthy place to use your stash.

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  19. Oh perfect! You know we cannot get those nutter butter cookies over here so homemade peanut cookies is a recipe I need to save for later. My boys miss the nutter butter cookies so will surprise them with your recipe this weekend.

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    1. You know what's funny, BAM...making these cookies made me realize that I've never had a Nutter Butter. Need to get my hands on one and try it!! I hope you do make it...I highly recommend it for PB lovers.

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  20. Oooh these look amazingly delicious! I adore peanut butter everything, and I made peanut butter cookie sandwiches once upon a time but they were different than these...and now I want these! So peanut buttery. Pinned!

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    1. This has got to be the pinnacle of homemade PB cookies - haha...maybe I'm exaggerating but I think the peanut cookies together with the uncooked pb filling just takes us to PB heaven!

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  21. Crispy and creamy..... I want some... I know you like the peanut butter one more, but I love chocolate! I will be tempting to make some chocolate peanut butter ones too! ;)

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    1. You know how I felt then, my friend! I had to give the chocolate filling a try! If you do make the chocolate filling, I'd start with less confectioners' sugar and add just enough to make it stiff enough to hold but not too stiff. I found I probably could've used less sugar - the filling stiffened up quicker than I expected.

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  22. I made these a few weeks ago! But burnt half of them, so couldn't/didn't take pictures. I loved the ones that we could actually eat, though!

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    1. Oh no! And you know something - I was worried about the bake too. The recipe/intent is clearly for dark brown cookies to get that crispness and it would be easy when you're busy to leave them in a minute or two too long and burn them! I got lucky and you've reminded me to be extra mindful next time...because I'm already plotting the next batch.

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  23. I'm pretty sure that I would be mad with myself if I made only a half batch! They looks so good! :)

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    1. haha - I know the feeling. : ) The craving is there and maybe even stronger for these cookies now. I just need to make them again really soon. I kind of like making things w/o having to take pics for the blog. :)

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  24. Wow... these sandwich cookies look flawless! How do you make every cookie identical! And how do you control yourself not overeating these cookies...;)

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    1. Haha - they're not identical but close enough. Credit goes to the recipe...it just works and you shape it nice and round going in and it comes out about the same! : )

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  25. Absolutely gr8 peanut butter sandwich cookies! A nice change from the creamy ones.

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    1. Exactly! I wasn't sure I'd like a crunchy cookie but these are my new obsession. : )

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  26. i don't always make peanut butter cookies, but when i do, i like as much peanut butter flavor as you can pack into them: no subtle peanut cookies for me! And these look incredible: the double dose of cookie and filling seems perfect to me.

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    1. It's peanut butter heaven if you want a peanut butter cookie. I am/was thinking about trying another recipe that's similar but I think this one is IT for its category.

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