First off, these cookies owe someone an apology. They arrived at the party in an unassuming way, on a paper plate draped in tinfoil. But somewhere between being placed on the buffet and a half hour later, they had disappeared. No, they weren’t sneaking out for a christmas smoke or being cornered by too-much-perfume-Millie in the hallway. They had simply jumped off the plate right into people’s mouths.
I say that an apology is due because the other desserts on that pretty table never even stood a chance. It was an unfair fight from the start. The other contenders had such promise, too: chocolate brownies and peppermint nanaimo bars. But word must have spread, fingers were pointed, and every last dark cocoa cookie with mini peanut butter cups was gone.
So here it is: I’m sorry. And my cookies are sorry. But they won’t apologize for being unabashedly rich and chocolatey with a peanut butter cup center. They were just born that way.
Dark Cocoa Cookies with Mini Peanut Butter Cups
If you can’t find mini peanut butter cups, any candy topping will do (a hunk of peppermint bark, perhaps?). Regular cocoa powder may be substituted for dark, although the flavor of the cookies will be less rich. Yield: 5 dozen 2″ cookies.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- mini peanut butter cups, for topping
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla at low speed and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Turn the mixer on medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl until evenly blended. Add the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Cover dough and chill at least 1 hour in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375F. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough between your palms to create a smooth ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Bake in batches of 12 for 7 minutes (cookies may still look slightly doughy in the center, and this is ok). Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Place 3 mini peanut butter cups in the center of each cookie and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.