It’s not time for Christmas cookies yet or anything, but these classic gluten free peanut butter cup cookies have been on.my.mind. Maybe it’s because all my children seem to want to talk about is Halloween, and the drug and grocery stores are packed with little mini candies. And anyway just look at them. A peanut butter lover’s dream!
The cookie is soft and tender, and packed with peanut butter. Baking with peanut butter tends to make cookies crunchy, but using just a little bit of peanut butter in the dough was not an option. If we’re gonna make peanut butter cookies, they’d better taste like peanut butter. It’s okay. Rebalancing the other ingredients to keep the cookies soft makes it all better.
There are few tricks to these classic, gorgeous cookies: freeze the peanut butter cups before pressing them into the warm so they keep their cute little shape, grease the wells of the muffin tin very well, and allow the cookies to cool completely in the wells of the mini muffin tin before you remove them.
If your school isn’t totally peanut-free, these make an ah-mazing lunchbox treat—and they’re so small that it’s not a major indulgence. Oh, and the cookies themselves also freeze so perfectly, and never really freeze solid which is a major bonus if you’ve got a stash in the freezer in case of emergencies and you just don’t have time to defrost. Hey, it happens.
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (173 g) smooth, no-stir peanut butter
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg yolk at room temperature, beaten
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well the wells of two 24-cup miniature muffin tins, and set them aside. Place the miniature peanut butter cups on a baking sheet and place in the freezer while you make the dough and then bake the cookies.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the butter and peanut butter, and mix well until very smooth. Add the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla, and then the egg and egg yolk, mixing to combine after each addition. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix to combine. The dough will be thick but soft.
Divide the dough into balls, each about 2 teaspoonsful, rolled tightly into 1-inch balls. Place the balls in the center of the prepared wells of the miniature muffin tins. If the dough seems too difficult to handle, chill it in the refrigerator, covered, until it firms up and is easier to handle.
Place the muffin tins in the center of the preheated oven and bake until very lightly golden brown and just set in the center (the dough should no longer be shiny), about 9 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a frozen peanut butter cup into the center of the cookie in each well, and press down until the top of the peanut butter cup is flush with the top of the cookie/well. Allow the cookies to cool fully in the muffin tin before using a toothpick to pry each one gently from its well.