Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Every so often, I crave a warm cookie fresh from the oven. Crisp edges and a soft center can take me away to a special place I like to call cookie heaven. I love the simplicity of a cookie; it may not be as beautiful as a tiered cake or as fancy as a crème brûlée, but it doesn't have to be to leave an impression. Cookies are the everyday dessert—for afternoon snacks and evening treats.

It's hard to beat the simplicity of a good cookie.

As I was growing up, my mother had a rule that my sister and I were never allowed more than two cookies in one sitting. The size of the cookie never mattered—two was the limit. Even though the rule was a simple one, with our best interests at heart, it quickly turned into a rule my sister and I heeded with a religious fervor. For the most part, the rule was easy to follow; easy, that is, until a box of Oreos was placed in front of me.

It is very difficult to eat only two Oreos in one sitting.

Yet, the rule was followed faithfully for years. Even when I wasn't in the house, the rule was so ingrained within me I didn't dare break it. It wasn't until my teenage years that I took my first rebellious step against the cookie regulation. After school, with a house to myself, I ate four Oreos for an afternoon snack. Once the last bite was taken, I immediately felt guilty. Though no one had seen the crime, I was certain my mother would somehow find out about it. I drank a glass of milk to wash out the evidence between my teeth. I rearranged the Oreos left in the bag to try to cover up the scandal. So great was my guilt that I didn't eat a single cookie after dinner that evening.

Looking back, the fact that my rebellious stage involved eating too many cookies in one sitting seems fitting. Even if my mother had found out about my minor rule-breaking at the time, I can't imagine she would have done anything but laugh at me. In fact, since I've kept my cookie secret until now, I can only imagine she's doing the same, shaking her head at the lengths I went to hide my cookie shame.

For the record, I now eat three Oreos in one sitting. I make my own rules now.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies are the ideal accompaniment to a glass of cold milk. Both the chocolate and peanut butter are in balanced proportion, with neither flavor trespassing over the other. The cookies bake up crisp on the outside, but soft in the center. I love to eat these warm, when the peanut butter is gooey and the chocolate is runny, but they are equally delicious after resting for a few hours (or days).

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Spice Latte (a fall favorite!)
Two Years Ago: Mixed Berry Crumble

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces peanut butter cups, halved or quartered*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the peanut butter cups.

Drop by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow the cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

*I used Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Minis which worked perfectly, but the smaller size "miniature" peanut butter cups will work just as well. If you refrigerate the peanut butter cups before cutting them and adding them to the cookie dough it helps them keep their shape and ensures that the cookie dough will not melt them.