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Peanut-Butter Surprises

Smooth peanut butter is sealed inside chocolate-chocolate-chip dough.

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
Peanut-Butter Surprises

Source: Holiday Cookies 2001, Special Issue Holiday 2001


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats). Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully combined between additions. Add vanilla; beat to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix on low speed until fully combined. Add chocolate chips; mix on low just until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 1 hour.

  3. In a small bowl using a rubber spatula, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.

  4. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill thumbprint with 2 teaspoons peanut butter mixture. Top with a second tablespoon of flattened dough. Carefully mold dough to cover the surprise.

  5. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets, and let cool completely on wire racks.

Cook's Note

Peanut filling can be made ahead and stored airtight in refrigerator up to one week. Bring the filling to room temperature before using.

Reviews (31)

  • kvnsgrl 7 Nov, 2013

    Delicious and incredibly addictive.

  • MaryDGinHP 21 Sep, 2013

    A little nerve racking to make but worth it

  • JV13 6 Aug, 2012

    I made these yesterday for a dinner party and they were absolutely delicious! I am not a huge fan of really sweet cookies so I did not add the chocolate chips and it was just as delicious.
    Great recipe and it was a big hit!

  • mykele 1 Apr, 2012

    Ladies, we have anot her recipe where we are to preheat our
    ovens way before the dough will be ready as the dough needs
    to be chilled for at least one hour. Just an energy saving tip.
    I am off to the kitchen to make these now...sounds yummy.

  • akire32 18 Mar, 2011

    delicious! I halved the recipe and got 14 generously sized cookies.
    I omitted the shortening because I tend to not like shortening in cookies, and replaced it with unsweetened applesauce. I also accidentally put the entire amount of brown sugar into the dough. They still turned out wonderfully! I used the "two disk" construction method the previous poster mentioned :) YUM!

  • ecampbell09 6 Feb, 2011

    I found it was easiest to shape the dough into a ball in my hand, and then flatten it on the cookie sheet. Then I used a faux-pastry bag (ziploc with the corner snipped off) to add the peanut butter (AND a mini dollop of NUTELLA!!) and then another flattened disc of dough to cover the top.

    Best cookies I ever made!!!

  • lisamaria 2 Jun, 2010

    Great recipe and great cookie! The peanut butter flavor is subtle..not overpowering..but a nice suprise! I did use reduced fat peanut butter and you can't tell. I also used some whole wheat pastry flour in place of 1/2 cup of all purpose. It helps a little and no one knows! This recipe is a keeper. Oh, I also did not get as many as the recipe states, but I like big cookies, so I don't mind. I got 18 larger ones. :) Enjoy!!

  • Beril 26 May, 2010

    I am not a fan of this recipe as is. My first batch that I made exactly to the recipe came out too wet, so the cookies spread too much, and it wasn't as chocolatey as the photo. I adjusted the recipe by increasing the cocoa, brown sugar and flour by 2 tbps each and git beautiful looking cookies, which were also chocolatey. I had omitted sugar from the peanut butter thinking it might be too sweet, but in retrospect, I should have kept it in.

  • pcbaker 14 Nov, 2009

    These were good but only made about a dozen large cookies. If you need more than that like I did as going to a pot luck, make adjustments :)

  • Lisanbrandon 31 Jul, 2009

    Has anyone succesfully made these with a substituion for the shortening? We don't do hydrogenated....

  • csobutterfly 12 Mar, 2009

    I made these cookies for Christmas and they were a big success! Highly recommended if you like chocolate

  • shoshanamazal 17 Feb, 2009

    What is the difference between these and the chocolate peantut butter surprise cookies?

  • Googe 6 Feb, 2009

    I just made these and they are fantastic!! I didn't have a paddle adjustment and they came out just fine. Be careful not to make huge cookies like I did, because I ran out of dough to cover the top. I think 2 tsp. of the PB mixture is way too much, plus I ran out of that too! I used 1 tsp. and it was plenty. Great Great cookie and I will definitely make them again!

  • trishcortani 22 Dec, 2008

    roseinmiami, i've had sugar cookies for the past few days, it messes up my digestive tract, too. i try to control myself on the amount i eat, it's just so hard to!

  • tracylesq 15 Dec, 2008

    I'm assuming these can be made using a standard hand mixer. I don't have a stand mixer with paddle attachment yet but I really want to try these. Anybody have any problems using a regular mixer?

  • tourtes 29 Nov, 2008

    It must make "huge" cookies!

  • roseinmiami 19 Nov, 2008

    I made these this weekend, and the reception has been fabulous. I am grateful for the advice on apple sauce and/or avocado - I will try those (or butter) next time. I love these cookies but I have had a little trouble digesting these (to be delicate :)). I think it may be the shortening, only since it is not something I often use. Anyone have a similar experience with shortening?

  • jessiekaye 14 Nov, 2008

    DEElicious. I had at least three people tell me this was the best cookie they've ever had. I did find an organic, non-hydrogenated shortening to lessen the guilt factor. MMMM....

  • Bribkc 12 Nov, 2008

    Oh. My. Goodness. These are so delicious they should be illegal! This has become my all-time favorite cookie recipe.

  • susanloretta 12 Nov, 2008

    We absolutely loved this recipe and I have made two batches since Friday. I am not a chocolate peanut butter lover but my family is and they requested the second batch. With the second batch I added pecans and walnuts and it was even better. Thank you for this special recipe

  • jannadots 10 Nov, 2008

    If substituting avocado or applesauce, do you use equal amounts as the veg shortening?

  • celest 9 Nov, 2008

    thanks for the recipe!i love peanut butter

  • MissMatched 8 Nov, 2008

    Using 2 teaspoons of peanut butter in each cookie meant that there was not enough to go around. Next time, I'll use just one teaspoon in each or whip the peanut butter/sugar concoction to create more air an volume. I think that will be nice change.

  • culinaryguru 8 Nov, 2008

    You can also replace shortening with applesauce or avocado, yes, avocado! don't know how cookies turn out using these substitutes, but in everthing else they're great! And it lowers fat

  • culinaryguru 8 Nov, 2008

    You can also replace shortening with applesauce or avocado, yes, avocado! don't know how cookies turn out using these substitutes, but in everthing else they're great! And it lowers fat

  • jmacc 7 Nov, 2008

    I have been making these for a couple of years...they are a big hit with everybody.

  • missyanne 7 Nov, 2008

    I just read online that you can substitute butter or margarine for the shortening. 1 cup shortening = 1 cup 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

  • boedost 7 Nov, 2008

    I have made these and they can also be put together, frozen and then baked as needed.

  • DSA 7 Nov, 2008

    Can this be made with a shortening substitute? I don't like using shortening.

  • jwhite4 7 Nov, 2008

    I wonder if it matters whether you use natural peanut butter or not. Some baking recipes don't turn out as well if you use the natural stuff. Any advice from those who've made these before?

  • Alexie 7 Nov, 2008

    I've been making these for years ever since I watched her make them on Martha Stewart Living! They are a family favourite! They are moist and the filling is delicious!

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