Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

January 24 is National Peanut Butter Day.

And it just so happens that I’ve made the best peanut butter cookies of my entire life in honor of it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

I am a huge, ridiculous peanut butter fan, lover, and connoisseur. I have quite the collection of recipes using it: 35 Favorite Peanut Butter Recipes, 20 Peanut Butter RecipesPeanut Butter and Jelly Recipes, and a master compilation of all the Peanut Butter Recipes I’ve blogged about. Yes, I love peanut butter.

I’m not one to throw around labels like ‘The Best’ or ‘Best Of’ if I really don’t think something is. When people talk and every other thing is amazing, life-changing, or the best, I tend to not take them seriously. Some things are good, some things are great, but to say The Best means there’s very little, if any, room to improve. But I can proudly say, these cookies get my vote as The Best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made.

And here’s the most amazing thing about these cookies. There’s no flour, no butter, and no white sugar used. And they taste better than any other peanut butter cookie I’ve had, many of which use plenty of those ingredients. Edited to add: For those compelled to comment that brown sugar is white with molasses added, yes, I’m aware.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

I tweaked my nearly three-year old recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and with a few changes, it went from a recipe that was very good and has served me quite well for years, to something that is dangerous to have in the house. It’s a good thing this is a 16-count batch size. Or, if you make them larger, about one dozen cookies.

They’re the easiest cookies you’ll ever make, with only six ingredients, and one of them is vanilla, which hardly counts. The recipe is naturally gluten-free because there’s no flour, and it’s one egg away from being vegan.

There are countless versions and variations on flourless peanut butter cookies. I’ve seen various types of peanut butter used, from creamy to crunchy, natural to not. The type and quantities of sugars vary, from using all granulated to all brown, to a combo of both. The inclusion or absence of baking soda; warm versus chilled dough; dough rolled in balls or dropped from tablespoons; fork-tine crossmarks and not. There are so many little tweaks that can be made to a four to six-ingredient recipe.

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For my version, I used one cup Peanut Pan Creamy Honey Roasted Peanut Butter and I don’t advocate using natural or Homemade Peanut Butter. As lovely as homemade peanut butter is for eating with a spoon, spreading on toast, or making pans of bars with, it lacks the structure that storebought peanut butter has. Because these cookies have no flour which would lend structure, using peanut butter that’s oily, natural, and loose is going to result in cookies that are loose and may not bake up as thick.

You could try using natural peanut butter and I’ve seen some people have success, but I get much better results with commercial. Good old-fashioned Jif, Skippy, or Peter Pan are my recommendations. I detest nuts in baked goods and creamy peanut butter is the only way for me, but if you like little pebbles in your cookies, go with crunchy.

Homemad Peanut Butter averiecooks.com

Add the peanut butter and light brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Spraying the measuring cup with cooking spray will help it plop out easier. In my former recipe, I used three-quarters cup granulated sugar and one-quarter cup brown sugar, but in the past three years, I’ve learned some things.

I’ve learned that I strongly prefer to use brown sugar when possible. It helps baked goods stay moist and soft, and it adds greater depth of flavor than granulated sugar. Most recently I made Brown Sugar Maple Cookies using only brown sugar and was so pleased with the soft. moist,  and tender results, that I used exclusively brown sugar in these peanut butter cookies.

Please don’t write to tell me that brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added. I’ve been told that about 500 times. I am making a taste claim about brown sugar, not a health claim. You cannot get the flavor from white sugar that brown sugar lends.

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To the peanut butter and brown sugar, add one egg, one tablespoon of vanilla extract, and one teaspoon baking soda. In my old recipe, I only used one-half teaspoon vanilla, but I am a vanilla fiend and added it amply enough to matter; one tablespoon. No more of this half-teaspoon business, but if you’re one of those people who prefer less, go with less. I go with more.

I didn’t use baking soda in the past, and in looking back at those old photos, the cookies are thinner because there was no chemical leavening. Part of the thinness also stems from baking with warm dough, but I’ve since corrected the errors of my ways on both accounts.

Mix all the ingredients until well-combined. The brown sugar is gritty and granular for the first few minutes of beating, so make sure to cream the ingredients until the sugar has smoothed out and the dough is nice and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The dough comes together, even without flour, and remarkably it’s not a sticky mess, thanks to the natural oils in the peanut butter.

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These cookies would have been perfectly fabulous without adding chocolate, but chocolate and peanut butter is quite possibly the best food pairing on the planet. I decided to go for broke and add as much chopped chocolate as I possibly could. I used six ounces of a roughly diced 72% Pound Plus Bar. I like the darkness and slight bitterness of the chocolate, contrasted with the honey in the peanut butter, and with molasses that’s naturally found in brown sugar. Most semi-sweet chocolate chips are in the 50 to 55% range, and I relish the extra bump in dark chocolate intensity.

Unlike chocolate chips which have stabilizers added to them, which slow down the rate the chips melt when heated, chocolate bars and baking chocolate don’t have them and when heated, the chocolate pools and forms puddles, rivers, and streams that run through the cookies.

Add the chocolate and beat momentarily to incorporate, and as tempting as it is to bake the cookies right away because the dough is just so good, it must be chilled for at least two hours, up to five days, before being baked for thicker, puffier cookies. Baking with warm dough is a recipe for flatter pancake cookies, as my old photos show.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

Using a medium-sized two-inch cookie scoop, form the dough mounds. This translates to almost two tablespoons of dough, or about 1.60-ounces by weight. For this batch of cookies, I made 16 balls, ate two, baked 14. You could divide the dough into 16 pieces for medium-to-smaller cookies like I made, or divide it into one dozen pieces for slightly larger cookies. These aren’t jumbo bakery-style cookies, which means you can have seconds. Or fourths.

Place the dough onto baking sheets about two inches apart, about 8 per tray. Prior to baking, flatten the mounds slightly. If your dough is very well-chilled, you can flatten them a bit more so they don’t stay mounded up in little puffballs while baking, just don’t over-flatten like I recently cautioned against.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

Bake at 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, but I really recommend the lower end of that range. The cookies in the photos were baked for eight minutes exactly, with the trays rotated once at the four-minute mark. The cookies will look underdone at eight minutes, but firm up as they cool. Let them cool on the baking trays for 5 to 10 minutes before moving them.

If you like crispy and crunchy peanut butter cookies, this probably isn’t the recipe for you since these are all about soft, chewy, and melty. But if you prefer slightly more well-done cookies, go for nine-ish minutes, maybe ten, but I would not bake them longer than 10 minutes or they’ll set up too firm and crunchy as they cool, and you’ll miss out on the ooey, gooey, melt-in-your mouth qualities, which are make these my favorite peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

Yes, they’re a new favorite. The dough itself is as robustly peanut butter flavored as you can get. There’s no butter and no flour to take away any of the intensity of flavor. Just pure peanut butter intensity. The honey roasted peanut butter makes for a slightly sweeter cookie than using regular peanut butter, and it’s a great contrast to the bittersweet dark chocolate.

The exclusive use of brown sugar keeps these cookies moist beyond words and they stay soft for a week. Or keep the unbaked dough in your fridge and bake off two or four mounds at a time. The recipe makes a small batch anyway, and I doubt you’ll have to worry about lingering leftovers or these gooey nuggets stale on you. You’ll have to worry more about when you’re going to fit in some additional cardio.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies - The BEST PB Cookies! NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! Soft, chewy and oozing with dark chocolate!!

The edges have a bit of chewiness to them, the interior is so soft and tender, the peanut flavor is distinctly present, and chunks and rivers of dark chocolate ooze everywhere.

It’s hard to believe there’s no butter, no flour, and no white sugar in them.

They’re my definition of the perfect cookie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies averiecooks.com

Print Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are the best peanut butter cookies I've ever made or eaten. And the most amazing thing about them is there's no flour, no butter, and no white sugar used. And they taste better than any other peanut butter cookie I've had, many of which use plenty of those ingredients. They're melt-in-your mouth soft and chewy, and extremely moist. They're intensely peanut-butter flavored and because there's no butter or flour added, the purity of the peanut butter shines though. There's no white sugar, just brown sugar, so the cookies have richer flavor and stay soft for days. They're bursting at the seams with dark chocolate, a perfect pairing for peanut butter. They're naturally gluten-free, easy, and fast to make. They're my new favorite peanut butter cookie.

Yield: about 16 medium cookies, or 1 dozen larger

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 16 minutes active (2+ hours to account for dough chilling)

Ingredients:

1 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain or crunchy may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter - see below)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semi-sweet, dark, or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips may be substituted)

Directions:

  1. To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and the sugar is fully incorporated and is mixture is no longer gritty or granular. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Although natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter may work, I recommend using storebought peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar so that cookies bake up thicker and spread less. Using natural or homemade peanut butter tends to result in thinner and flatter cookies that are prone to spreading.
  2. Add the baking soda and beat to incorporate.
  3. Add the chocolate and beat to just incorporate; don't overmix or the nice chocolate chunks will break down.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form two-tablespoon mounds. If chocolate is falling out of dough since there is an abundance, roll ball between palms to encourage it to stay in the dough. Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. Watch them very closely after 7 minutes and I recommend not baking longer than 10 minutes. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long results in cookies that become too crisp and hard. The cookies in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark, and have chewy edges with pillowy soft centers.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Edited To Add – Troubleshooting Tips

There are similar recipes on Allrecipes (2000 comments), The Food Network (275 comments), Epicurious (325 comments) – all with very high to nearly perfect user ratings and feedback. For anyone who has had trouble with my recipe, I recommend reading the comments on those other sites and perhaps they will help you troubleshoot your issues.

Also, googling “flourless peanut butter cookies” will pull up hundreds of bloggers who have similar recipes on their sites.

For example, Heidi of Foodie Crush made cookies using my recipe on her site here, minus the chocolate chunks. Rather than 1 cup brown sugar, she used 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Related Recipes

I love peanut butter!

35 Favorite Peanut Butter Recipes (as of September 2012)

20 Peanut Butter Recipes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Recipes

master compilation of all Peanut Butter Recipes

Here are 10 favorites below:

1. Homemade Peanut Butter (vegan if plain peanuts are used, GF) – Ready in 5 minutes and you have not lived until you’ve made your own

2. Homemade Cookie Butter Peanut Butter (vegan, GF) – So similar to Biscoff or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter and it comes together in minutes in the food processor. Dangerously good

3. Special K Bars (no-bake) – The recipe is from my Grandma and one of my favorite bars of all time and ironically was the first picture Foodgawker ever accepted of mine. 250+ later, it’s fun to think back

4. Coconut Peanut Butter Magic Cake Bars – One of my favorite bar-desserts that I’ve ever posted (tied with the bars below it). If Seven Layer Bars (aka Magic Bars or Hello Dolly Bars) met a golden yellow butter cake rather than a graham cracker crust, that’s what these are like

5. White Chocolate Vanilla Marshmallow Cake Bars – One of my favorite desserts that I’ve ever posted (tied with the bars above) – There are four main layers to these bars. Gooey butter cake, peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, more white chocolate. The pictures don’t do them justice

6. Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies – So dense and rich they’re peanut butter fudge-like with jelly swirled throughout

7. Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars – One of my favorite desserts of 2011. Creamy, sweet, rich. A soft and sweet marshmallow-peanut butter top layer adorns a base of oats, sweetened condensed milk, and white chocolate. An all-time favorite

8. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – One of my favorite cookie recipes on my site. Chewy, filled with texture, and combines three of my favorite cookies in one – chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter – and very easy to make, no mixer required

9. Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip Cookies – One of my all-time favorites, I love these cookies and they’re similar to the cookies above, but with white chocolate chips. I love them

10. Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars – Thanks to Pinterest, one of the most popular recipes on my site. No need for campfires, make s’mores at home. These smores have three layers, including a cocoa-crispy cereal top layer that’s made with peanut butter

And there’s no peanut butter in them, but these are my favorite Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies

I wrote a Peanut Butter Cookbook

Do you like peanut butter? Love peanut butter?

Do you have a favorite recipe for peanut butter cookies? Or any favorite recipes using peanut butter? What are you eating or making in honor of National Peanut Butter Day?

Please tell me about them and leave links. I am always game for trying new peanut butter-based recipes.

   

483 Responses to “Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies”

  1. jennifer — November 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm (#
    201
    )

    I tried making these cookies twice, since you said they were the greatest. Both times, they came out much different from your pictures and were very average. This is not the greatest peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that you say it is. Very disappointed!

    • Averie Sunshine — November 26, 2014 at 9:34 pm (#
      )

      I love them and lots of other people do too, but everyone has different tastes and preferences and best of luck in your search finding your perfect cookie.

  2. Robin — December 13, 2014 at 6:33 am (#
    202
    )

    I came upon this recipe after realizing I wanted cookies and was out of butter. The only peanut butter I had was Jif Natural Creamy…of course! I did not read all of the reviews but saw that someone else was successful with it, so I gave it a shot. The dough texture was very odd and nothing like a cookie dough, but I threw in the chocolate chips anyways. They were completely coated in oil and not sticking to the dough. I had two choices- panic and throw it away or trudge on. You can imagine what someone who really wants cookies would do! So, I used a cookie scoop the best I could and squeezed the contents tightly in my hand, making sure all of the chocolate chips stayed attached. My hands were dripping with oil but I continued to do this and got about 21 cookies. Paper towels helped soak up excess oil on the tops and bottoms. I put one in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking it while the rest chilled for two hours in the fridge. After 8 minutes in the oven, I had a delicious chocolatey peanut buttery chewy gooey cookie! They will never be as good as classic chocolate chip cookies (in my opinion) and were a bit messy to make, but I would definitely encourage others to try this out.

    tl/dr: YUM!

    • Averie Sunshine — December 13, 2014 at 2:43 pm (#
      )

      Glad it all worked out and you enjoyed the cookies!

  3. Cynthia Bradburn — January 27, 2015 at 6:57 am (#
    203
    )

    These cookies are DELICIOUS. Not sure what’s up with the previous critical posters…some people complain about everything. What makes these extra awesome is that they are flour and oil/butter free. Will definitely be making these many more times! My kids loved them!!

    • Averie Sunshine — January 27, 2015 at 1:47 pm (#
      )

      some people complain about everything. <— You got that right :) It still amazes me after 6+ years of blogging! So glad you and your kids enjoyed these and that you can appreciate that they’re flour/oil/butter-free!

  4. Therese — March 3, 2015 at 12:29 pm (#
    204
    )

    I made these cookies today. I made them a bit smaller, 20 instead of 16, and baked them for 9 minutes. They were just right, chewy and soft but not underbaked. I have a nephew that loves peanut butter and chocolate, so the next time I go over his house, I will bring these cookies. Also, today I made your triple peanut butter cookie pie for the 5th time! This pie is completely for me – I am not sharing. Thanks for all your great recipes, Averie – they are always a success!

    • Averie Sunshine — March 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm (#
      )

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! You have a lucky nephew it sounds like that will get to sample these one day!

      And you’ve officially made that PB Cookie Pie more times than I have…five! Wow, love it! Between these cookies and the pie, you have been baking up a storm!!

  5. darra — March 20, 2015 at 3:52 pm (#
    205
    )

    I made these for the 3rd time. And it’s a 3rd fail as far as the dough goes…but they still taste pretty amazing. So it’s not a total fail…the taste is a win, but my problem is terribly oily dough like many others and it’s horrible to work with the oily dough. I would love to know why and how some do not get oily dough (and I mean OILY)!! I’ve used 3 different kinds of PB and none were natural or low fat. The first time I used the honey roasted one. After reading comments I decided I may have over mixed with a hand mixer so today I first beat just the PB and brown sugar and stopped when it was well combined…maybe 1:30-2 minutes. Then I added the egg and vanilla. That’s when it went south. It started to get a crumbly texture and then the oil sprouted. From then on it was just an oily crumbly mess. In the past I kept mixing thinking it would come together, but after mixing for over 6 minutes it looked exactly the same so this time I didn’t keep mixing but I added coconut flour (only a few tablespoons because I didn’t want to go crazy and I really want these to be flour less) but that did nothing to help. It seems like it’s a mystery and no telling why it happens for some and not others, but are there any clues from what I wrote about the preparation that would explain the vast amount of oil I’m getting from the dough? I can’t imagine it’s the PB when I’ve gotten 3 different kinds and I’ve tried mixing a lot and a little so what??? help…

    • Averie Sunshine — March 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm (#
      )

      Thanks for trying to perfect this so many times…sounds like you’ve tried everything and the only thing left that I would say is just keep this super simple, don’t over-think it, so to speak. So add your PB, sugar, egg, etc and just mix it all up with a spoon! I have seen very similar recipes on foodnetwork, food dot com, allrecipes, etc and I have seen people have really good luck with just keeping things SUPER basic. No electric mixers, no long drawnout beating times, etc. Just mix it by hand with a spoon, chill the dough (although many of those said recipes don’t even call for dough chilling) and then bake them off. Thanks for trying and if you DO try again, LMK if that works.

      My PB of choice for baking is either 1. a generic storebrand I get at Ralph’s/Kroger that’s honey-roasted (similar to Jif but 1/3rd the price) OR 2. Jif good old fashioned basis or their honey roasted (but not the ‘naturals’)..but I think this has less to do with the type of PB than mixing of the dough. As you said, not sure why some people have great luck and others don’t.

      And just so you know, when I make these, my dough IS oily and sometimes more so than others….and sometimes I have to ‘hard-pack’ it into little mounds and just squeeze it together but eventually it all works out. Sorry just don’t know what else to say that could help!

  6. darra — March 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm (#
    206
    )

    Thanks for your response…I’m glad you said to try hand mixing because that was my next idea! I made this last batch for a group  of people and everybody loved them so the only issue was the oily mess in preparation. Hopefully hand mixing will do the trick but either way these are delicious cookies! Have you ever tried with stevia instead of brown sugar? They certainly wouldn’t taste as good (IMO) but I’m wondering if they would be good enough for the non-sugar health benefits.

    • Averie Sunshine — March 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm (#
      )

      Glad that the only issue is that mixing them is messy/oily! Me too :) You get a nice hand moisturizing session and your hands smell like PB for about 8 hours no matter how many times you wash them :)

      Glad everyone loves them!!

      Haven’t tried baking with stevia much at all…honestly, I use it in my coffee or tea but that’s about it because just a tiny bit too much and you ruin the whole thing, at least that’s what I’m prone to doing!

  7. Jodi — May 1, 2015 at 10:07 am (#
    207
    )

    Just wanted to say these cookies are so good! The only peanut butter I ever have is the natural and it worked great.  I also didn’t read the instrucions fully until after the cookies were in the oven baking–oops!  So I didnt flatten my cookies or chill them first, but they came out perfect when baked for 8 minutes.  Thanks for the recipe!

    • Averie Sunshine — May 1, 2015 at 10:30 am (#
      )

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!

  8. Denise — June 25, 2015 at 11:13 am (#
    208
    )

    since the author of this recipe had such a passion for this cookie, I knew it had to be as good as she stated, so I baked them for my husband (very frank and honest critic) and my granddaughter whose mother is also quite forthright in her opinion.  Everyone found the cookies to be delicious!  I, too, found the cookies to be quite tasty and loved the chocolate chunks.  I used Bakers chocolate and Peter Pan creamy peanut butter.  They look exactly like the picture.  Yes, there was a little oil from the peanut butter, but I used the cookie scoop and I like to always wear gloves when touching food that I prepare. I had no mess, and I allowed the cookies to remain on sheet until cool.  I always use parchment paper when I make cookies, and they turned out great.  Not one cookie fell apart when cool. 

    I love a person who has a passion for what s/he writes. I probably would not have made this recipe were it not for the author. She made me a believer!  Thanks for sharing this recipe!  They were so pretty, I took a picture of them before they were all consumed. 

  9. Amy — June 28, 2015 at 11:40 am (#
    209
    )

    Just made these. Beautiful!

    • Averie Sunshine — June 28, 2015 at 11:54 am (#
      )

      Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad they came out great for you!

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