A classic peanut butter cookie with a sweet pool of caramel in the middle!
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks researching and thinking up peanut butter recipes! Did you know that there is a National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day in March? It’s true!
With a holiday like that I realized it would be criminal not to include amongst all the creations a classic peanut butter cookie. The kind we love to make at home, bring to bake sales and set out next to tall glasses of cold milk.
I also realized that I couldn’t stop with just the classic PB cookie. So I had to mess with it. But in a good way!
So I stuck my thumb in the middle of those cookies (in that pic above it’s actually my index finger) and added a little something more…
… a pool of sweet caramel, which tastes quite nice with the peanut butter.
Don’t skimp on the quality of the caramels: I found out the hard way on this one. The candies get tucked into the cookie centers a few minutes before they come out of the oven – just enough time to melt.
The result is a soft peanut butter cookie that we know and love with a little extra buttery caramel sweetness waiting in the center. Divine!
A stand mixer or hand-held mixer, a couple of large bowls, baking sheets, parchment paper, spatula and a cooling rack.
Yes! I chose Werther’s Original Soft Caramels which melt perfectly. Don’t use the harder, cheaper cubes of caramel – they don’t work at all. If you can’t find Werther’s look for soft caramel candies that feel squishable with just a gentle squeeze.
The recipe is below, but first: a few other cookie temptations for you!
Peanut Butter Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
- 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter (about 9 ounces)
- 24 soft caramel candies like Werther’s Originals (wrappers removed)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Hold this aside.
- Cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Cream the butter and sugars for about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and mix this in, too. Beat in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the flour mixture to the bowl in two additions, scraping the bowl a couple of times to be sure everything is incorporated.
- Scoop out portions of the dough using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop and space them evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Press a small indentation in middle of each dough portion with your thumb (not too deep.)
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. While this batch bakes put the bowl of remaining dough in the fridge to keep it chilled.
- After 10 minutes pull the baking sheet from the oven and set a caramel into the center of each cookie, pressing it in just a little. Bake the cookies for an additional 4-5 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Pull the pan from the oven, let the cookies rest on the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack with a spatula. (If they seem too fragile let the rest a little longer. If you used parchment paper you can also carefully lift the paper and cookies up by grabbing opposing corners and quickly move the whole thing to the cooling rack.)
- Repeat the baking and caramel steps with the rest of the dough. Once the baked cookies have cooled, store them in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days.Makes about 36 cookies.