Chocolate and peanut butter are a magical combination. In cookie form, I prefer a soft and chewy cookie to house the peanut butter chips. Hey, it’s just how I feel! Recently, I published a recipe for Magic Bar Cookies. If you enjoy magic bars (also called seven layer bars), I highly encourage you to check out that recipe! When I developed those cookies, I wanted to make sure to include one of the magical ingredients in magic bars — sweetened condensed milk. One of the beautiful results of mixing in sweetened condensed milk to the cookie batter is that it makes the cookie softer and chewier. I immediately knew I wanted to transfer that concept to a chocolate peanut butter cookie. Hence, the birth of these soft and chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies!
These cookies are super easy to make. Seriously. Here’s all you need to do:
1. Melt Chocolate
These soft and chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies use two forms of chocolate: a dark chocolate and cocoa powder. For the dark chocolate, I highly recommend either bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate. More importantly, your chocolate cookies will only be as good as your chocolate. In other words, use good quality chocolate. My go-to is Guittard baking bars or wafers. I also enjoy baking with Scharffen Berger. I do not recommend using chocolate chips, as they are generally not pure chocolate and you will not get as good flavor as using pure chocolate.
It’s a good idea to get the chocolate melted before gathering the rest of the ingredients so it has time to cool to room temperature. I’m a bit “old school” when it comes to melting chocolate. I bring about an inch of water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it starts to boil, I turn the flame off. Then I put a metal bowl with the chocolate pieces in it on top of the saucepan. The heat and steam from the water will gently heat the bottom of the bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes, then stir it until it is all melted. Alternatively, you can microwave the chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring after every interval.
2. Whisk Dry Ingredients
The dry ingredients include all purpose flour, Dutch process cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda and espresso powder. Let’s address a couple of these ingredients.
I highly recommend using Dutch process cocoa rather than natural cocoa. Dutch process just means that acidity was removed from the cocoa. It makes the chocolate deeper in flavor and color. I like to use a combination of Dutch process and black cocoa (which is a form of Dutch process and is what is used in Oreos). Half Dutch process and half black cocoa is a good mixture. For simplicity, I just use Double Dutch Dark Cocoa from King Arthur Baking Company because it is a pre-made blend of Dutch process and black cocoas.
As for the espresso powder, it is completely optional. That said, I highly recommend adding it. Coffee of any sort complements chocolate incredibly well and actually enhances the chocolate flavor. Don’t worry, you will not taste the espresso powder, and the cookies will not have even a remote coffee flavor.
3. Mix Wet Ingredients
Cream together the butter and the sugars just until they are fully incorporated. Then add the sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla extract. Mix it all together until combined.
Sweetened condensed milk is a less traditional cookie ingredient, but I have found that it makes for a soft, chewy cookie. It’s the secret weapon in these cookies!
Next, mix in the melted chocolate, which should be at room temperature. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl to get the melted chocolate fully incorporated.
4. Marry the Wet with the Dry and Chill
Mix in the dry ingredients just until the flour mixture is no longer visible. Stir in the peanut butter chips. (If you buy Reese’s brand, you will need more than 1 bag.) The dough will be slightly too sticky to shape. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, which will make it much easier to shape the dough. I have let it chill for a couple of hours and found that, when chilled longer like this, the cookies come out of the oven with a crinkly top, which looks so good!
5. Bake, Cool and Enjoy!
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. I found 11 minutes to be the magic baking time in my oven. Allow the cookies to cool at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frequently Asked Questions About Soft and Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Can I make a half recipe of Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies?
Yes. It is much easier to halve the recipe when weighing the ingredients as opposed to measuring them. To halve the egg, crack it into a dish and beat it. Then carefully weigh out 25 grams of it. (One large beaten egg weighs approximately 50 grams.)
What type of cocoa is best in Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies?
Best to use Dutch process cocoa rather than natural cocoa. Dutch process just means that acidity was removed from the cocoa. It makes the chocolate deeper in flavor and color. I like to use a combination of Dutch process and black cocoa (which is a form of Dutch process and is what is used in Oreos). Half Dutch process and half black cocoa is a good mixture. For simplicity, I just use Double Dutch Dark Cocoa from King Arthur Baking Company because it is a pre-made blend of Dutch process and black cocoas.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
- 113 grams bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, chopped (4 ounces)
- 240 grams all purpose flour (2 cups)
- 66 grams Dutch process cocoa (2/3 cup)
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (or table salt)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 16 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature (1 cup)
- 150 grams granulated sugar (¾ cup)
- 220 grams light brown sugar (1 cup)
- 1 large egg (cold is fine)
- 253 grams sweetened condensed milk (⅔ cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 340 grams peanut butter chips (2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Fill a small pot with about an inch of water, and bring the water to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat off and immediately place the bowl of chocolate over the hot water. (The water should not touch the bowl.) Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is fully melted. Remove the bowl from over the pot, wipe the outside of the bowl dry, and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda and espresso powder (if using). Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars just until the sugars are fully incorporated with the butter. Mix in the egg, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until fully combined.
- Mix in the melted chocolate to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and beat until fully combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you continue mixing.
- Mix in dry ingredients just until fully combined. Stir in peanut butter chips.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 48 hours.
- Portion and mound the cold cookie dough into 30 gram balls, flattening each slightly. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.