Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I made these cookies for National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, coming up on March 1.

But these aren’t just any peanut butter cookies. There’s: No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

The cookies are brownie-like in thickness and density, super fudgy, and not at all cakey. They’re slightly chewy around the edges with soft, tender, rich interiors that I just want to sink my teeth into. And the crackled edges are prime for picking off.

I was trying to decide whether they’re more chocolate-peanut butter cookies or peanut butter-chocolate cookies, and in the end chocolate-peanut butter wins. The chocolate intensity is bold and unadulterated, but the peanut butter is definitely present. Because there’s no butter or flour used, the peanut butter shines and gives the chocolate a run for its money. When I  was making the dough and before I even turned on the oven, my husband shouted out, It smells like peanut butter in here! There’s enough peanut butter in the dough to send the sweet fumes wafting through the house.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

Recently I revamped an older recipe, turning Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies into Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, with some small but noteworthy tweaks. Here, I’ve revamped the 2010 Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. In both revamps, I removed all white sugar and replaced it with brown sugar for a moister, softer, and richer cookie. And also made sure both revamps turned out nice and thick.

The recipe makes a baker’s dozen, 13 cookies, perfect for times you have a chocolate and peanut butter craving, but don’t need too many cookies lingering around the house.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

Make them by combining peanut butter, brown sugar, one egg, one tablespoon of vanilla, and mix until well-combined, about 5 minutes. 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, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. There’s very little harm in over-mixing here and even with a powerful mixer, it takes time for the ingredients to come together smoothly.

I used light brown sugar but they’d be scrumptious with dark brown sugar. I like using Peter Pan Honey Roasted Peanut Butter for these cookies, but regular Jif or Skippy is fine. Don’t use natural or Homemade Peanut Butter. As lovely as they are for eating with a spoon or spreading on toast, they lack the structure that storebought peanut butter has and I don’t recommend them for baking. Good old-fashioned Jif, Skippy, or Peter Pan are my recommendations.

Chocolate peanut butter like Dark Chocolate Dreams (code AVE630 will save you $10 on your first order) could be used, but because not everyone has access to it, and I kept things more universal with old-school peanut butter. Creamy peanut butter is the only way for me, but if you like little marbles in your cookies, go with crunchy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

Add the baking soda, cocoa powder, and mix to incorporate them. I use Trader Joe’s unsweetened natural cocoa but a Dutch-process cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark would be nice. I have the hardest time finding it, but if you use it or a similar very dark cocoa, you may want to use slightly less than the half-cup indicated so the cookies don’t turn bitter. For cookies, I don’t bother sifting cocoa powder, but sift if you wish.

The dough should come together into a big mass. If there are crumbly pieces, that’s fine as long as when you go to press them into the rest of the larger mass, they stick together. If for some reason your dough is too dry, sandy, and not combining, add a little more peanut butter, one tablespoon at a time, blending to incorporate. I’ve found with this dough that even one tablespoon can make the difference. Because climates and brands of peanut butter and cocoa vary, it’s possible you may need to add a touch more peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

With a medium cookie scoop, form two-inch diameter mounds. My scooped mounds weighed 1.80 ounces each and the recipe makes just 13 cookies. If you don’t have a scoop, roll them into balls. Make a criss-cross pattern on top of the mounds with a fork. This not only gives them that old-fashioned, classic peanut butter cookie look, but it serves to flatten them just enough so when baking they don’t stay too domed. With properly chilled dough, they don’t spread or flatten much, so smooshing them just a touch is recommend, but not too much or you won’t wind up with thick-as-brownies cookies

Place the dough mounds on a large plate, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to five days, before baking. If you don’t chill the dough and bake with warm, limp dough, your chances for thick, puffy, fat cookies go out the window.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

Bake at 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, but I really recommend the lower end of the range. The cookies in the photos were baked for eight minutes, with the trays rotated once at the four-minute mark. It’s hard to really determine if the cookies are done then because the dough is dark and they’ll look underdone at eight minutes, but firm up as they cool.

Cocoa powder has a way of inherently drying things out and not over-baking is key to having them set up soft and chewy, and stay moist and fresh as the days pass. If you prefer slightly more well-done cookies, go for nine minutes, maybe ten, but don’t bake them longer than 10 minutes or they’ll set up too firm and crunchy and turn dry and crumbly.

They’re thick, dense, moist, and soft in the middle. I love the fork impressions on the surface and how the edges became crackled. Picking off crackled cookie edges is the cookie equivalent to picking off muffin tops, both of which I’m very good at. I relish breaking them apart at the splits and seams. Big morsels of fudgy cookie just chunk right off and easily find their way into my mouth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

They have a bit of fine-grain grittiness, a result of the cocoa powder and peanut butter combining. It gives the cookies an old-fashioned and distinctly homemade taste like something from an old-fashioned diner where a little old lady is still making the desserts from scratch.  The exclusive use of brown sugar serves to keep them softer and moister than using granulated and they keep well for up to a week.

There’s no flour to cloud the chocolate flavor, which packs a punch. The cookies aren’t too sweet and are more adult-themed than your typical peanut butter-based cookie. Although my six year old never says no to chocolate, they go just as well with a few shots of espresso as they would with a glass of milk. The honey roasted peanut butter makes for a slightly sweeter cookie than using plain peanut butter, but either way keeping butter out of the recipe allows the boldness and purity of chocolate and peanut butter to shine through.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is a nostalgic holiday for me. Ironically, this week last year I had just inked my contract to write my cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort. I almost shared the news for the holiday, but decided to wait. For another 51 weeks. Until I just announced it last week, My Cookbook: Peanut Butter Comfort. And then for National Peanut Day in September, I almost announced the book again, but instead I simply shared 35 National Peanut Day Recipes.

But now, a peanut butter holiday to be celebrated with a peanut butter cookbook under my belt, and with chocolate and peanut butter in full force.

Chocolate and peanut butter is probably the best flavor pairing on earth. Sure, twist my arm.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - No butter, No white sugar, and No flour used averiecooks.com

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - NO butter & NO flour used in these thick cookies that taste like peanut butter brownies!

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! The flavor is intensely chocolaty, balanced by the sweet and creamy peanut butter. The cookies are brownie-like in density and thickness. They’re soft, chewy, and moist. They’re more rich and bold than they are overly sweet. For those who love pairing chocolate and peanut butter, these cookies are for you. It’s a small-batch recipe, and makes just a baker’s dozen, perfect for quick cravings when you don’t need a huge batch of cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (i.e. one heaping cup – I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain or crunchy may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter, it’s too runny)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed (dark brown may be substituted)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-process or Hershey’s Special Dark may be substituted)
1 teaspoon baking soda

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, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Note regarding peanut butter – 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, flatter cookies, that are prone to spreading.
  2. Add the cocoa powder (I don’t bother to sift), baking soda, and beat to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Dough may be a bit crumbly in pieces, but pieces should all stick together forming a large mound when pinched, squeezed, and pushed together. If your dough seems dry, adding 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of peanut butter will help it combine.
  3. Using a 2-inch medium cookie scoop (about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough or 1.80 ounces by weight), form dough mounds or roll dough into balls. Recipe makes 13 cookies; dividing dough into 13 equal portions is another way to do this.
  4. Place dough on a large plate and flatten each mound with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern on top. Slightly flattening the mounds before baking ensures they don’t stay too domed and puffed while baking because this dough, when properly chilled, doesn’t spread much; just don’t over-flatten. Cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Space dough 2 inches apart (8 to 10 per tray) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. It’s tricky to discern if they’re done or not because they’re so dark, but watch them very closely after 7 minutes. I recommend the lower end of the baking range. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long will result in cookies that set up too crisp and hard (The cookies shown 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. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Adapted from Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF) and Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

Only Eats

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Quintuple Chocolate Fudgy Brownie Cookies – For the ultimate chocolate lover and chocolate is used five times: Cocoa powder, melted bittersweet baking chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, diced chocolate and caramel-filled truffles, and chocolate-filled Oreos. There’s no peanut butter in them, but hands down, my favorite chocolate cookie recipe of all time

Mounds Bar Chocolate Coconut Cake Mix Cookies – Chocolate and coconut is a winning combination and I baked both chocolate chips and Mounds Bar candy bars into these easy, goofproof chocolate cake mix cookies that turn out soft and moist every time

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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. Just eat it, but don’t bake with it

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What’s your favorite way to eat peanut butter and chocolate?

Recipes links welcome.

Thanks for the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookies Giveaway and $100 Swanson Vitamins Shopping Spree and Coconut Oil Giveaway entries!

240 comments on “Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies”

  1. Oooooooh my god. I am not sure whether to love you or hate you;)

  2. WOW! These look so wonderfully thick and delicious! I actually just made your peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies again on Sunday night when we had people over for the Oscars! No one could believe that there was no flour or butter in them! Definitely putting these on my list to try next! Great job again friend!!

  3. I was already mouthwatering and making a grocery list in my mind when I saw the photos, but the when I read that they are slightly gritty, that sent me over the edge! I love my cookies with a bit of texture. I’ll definitely be making them and enjoying them with some espresso, just like you mention :)

  4. Wow! These look so thick and fabulous! I actually just made your peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies again when we had people over to watch the Oscars! Everyone loved them and couldn’t believe there was no butter or flour! Definitely going to try these next. Great job again friend!

  5. When I first saw the picture, I figured that these were probably brownie bites with flour, white sugar, butter. Then I read that NONE of those ingredients were used! Whaaaaat?

    So I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how it was done before scrolling down through the rest of the post. Amazing! This is dangerous because I always have these ingredients on hand, and a craving for peanut butter & chocolate…

  6. I love the flourless, butterless PB cookies for the short ingredient list, fabulous taste, and that slight grittiness. Hershey’s special dark is my favorite cocoa powder now–oh how good these will be!! I can only find the Hershey’s special dark at Wal Mart around here–so I have a slight tendency to hoard it just a little! I pre-ordered your cookbook and am anxious for May–but in the meantime, I know you’ll have plenty of yummy things for all of us!

    • I have such a hard time finding it, too. I don’t know why. I have like 10 gorcery stores within 8 city blocks of me and I’m not exaggerating…I could walk in any direction and hit at least a couple in a block or two but none of them have the Special Dark! And thank for the preorder and yes, I am actually blogging about more PB recipes lately than I was for a year (they all went into the book for awhile there!)

  7. I’ve never had luck with flourless PB cookies– they’ve always turned out like weird, way too sweet rocks. Your pictures have me beleiving this doesn’t have to be the case– they look phenomenal

  8. I am already having a stressful day, and these look like just the thing to cheer me up. I can imagine taking a big bite of one of these and it makes everything seem okay!

  9. I think that slight texture variation from homemade vs store bought is what makes homemade so much better.

  10. These look absolutely sinful. While I usually like my brownies to be brownie-like, my cakes to have the texture of cake, and my cookies to be like cookies, there are always exceptions. With a recipe that makes just the right amount and with so few ingredients, who cares if they are brownies or cookies. They will be delicious! And, of course, combining chocolate and peanut butter ensures that these cookies will be nothing short of scrumptious!

    Beautiful pictures, as always. :)

  11. It’s a good thing my husband isn’t reading over my shoulder right now. All these peanut butter treats would make him go nuts (pun intended)! I need to bookmark ALL of these so I can make them for him!

  12. These look so delicious, Averie! I’m on a huge peanut butter kick right now, and will definitely have to make these!

  13. Mmmmm! I recently made 3 Ingredient PB cookies – peanut butter, brown sugar, and an egg. They are amazing. I imagine adding chocolate makes them even more irresistible! Sometimes it’s the most basic recipes that are the most delish!
    http://backforsecondsblog.com/2013/02/3-ingredient-peanut-butter-cookies-gluten-free/

  14. These look so amazing!

  15. These look so good, Averie! I just want to reach through the screen and grab one. Maybe after I go to the gym? I will definitely try these at some point!

  16. How can I be hungry for something this sweet at 9:30 am?! I am and I won’t question it.

    I just got a couple samples of that dark chocolate dream pb and I was wondering what to do with it. I don’t eat that kind of sweetened pb straight (which is all I do with the homemade goods), so cookies sound perfect!

  17. You have the ability to make ALL THE COOKIES look sexy. Well done.

  18. No sugar, no flour, no butter? Wow! And they still look soo amazing. Love the fudginess!

  19. Oh my goodness! I totally made Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies for today too!! Crazy! Mine have no butter too! http://www.treatswithatwist.com/2013/02/flourless-chocolate-peanut-butter-cookies.html
    I’ll have to try your version for the sake of comparison ;) any excuse to make more cookies!

  20. It’s 9 a.m., you’re killing me, girl! I want to make these right now. These cookies look so thick and chewy. I can only imagine that fabulous chocolate/peanut butter taste combo. And I can’t wait to order your book. It’s going to make for excellent bedtime reading – I’ll stare at all the gorgeous photos and recipes in there to guarantee sweet dreams (and late night hunger pangs).

    • Oh wow, you’re a glutton for punishment like I am, wanting to read dessert/sweets recipes at night before bed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be reading a cookbook and HAVE to get up and make something…at like…midnight b/c I have no willpower at that hour :)

  21. HI AVERIE!
    I came over on the RIGHT day to say HI! OH wow. I am in heaven. :)You sure nailed it girl

    Hope all is well!
    xx
    moni

  22. well those might just be the perfect cookie!

  23. Score! I was craving GF cookies & this one looks so simple!

  24. Averie! These look amazing! You are a flourless-baking genius. I thought it couldn’t get any better after the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, but I can’t wait to make these :) Good thing today is grocery day.

  25. These cookies are so THICK–I feel like it would be like biting down into rich peanut butter fudge! The insides are so gooey, and drool worthy. A perfect adaption to that already amazing flourless peanut butter cookie recipe of yours!

    • biting down into rich peanut butter fudge = Yes, that pretty much sums it up! But baked, and with a little bit of texture, so it’s not just that too-smooth fudge feeling if that makes sense? Sometimes fudge needs a little something for me to cut that one-dimensional aspect. These do the trick :)

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