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~ Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies ~

IMG_1287Amongst the foodie cravings I get, chocolate isn't in my top ten.  That said, I confess to a weakness for Reese's peanut butter cups and Snickers bars.  There's just something about the combination of mellow milk chocolate and salty peanuts or peanut butter that I find hard to resist. I love it enough to keep a bag of mini-Reese's cups and a bag of snack-sized peanut-butter Snickers bars in my freezer.  A bite-sized nibble of either one and I am a happy woman. 

0100bdaf-ad5f-4856-acc3-190309dea9b9Two things transpired this week:  I replenished my supply of mini-Reese's cups via Amazon. My candy delivery prompted me to get on the internet and search "Reese's peanut butter cup cookies".  I wanted to see if I could find something other than the original Peanut Butter Cup Cookies that I've made in the past, courtesy of Betty Crocker (pictured here).  I found several on the Hershey corporation's site -- a company website is a good place to start when looking to cook or bake using one of their products.  When I was finished perusing Hershey's recipes, I noticed three or four sites touting a recipe for Over-the-Top-Peanut-Butter-Cookies.  When the blogging community is giving accolades for a common recipe, and more importantly, crediting the source, that's a recipe I'm inclined to try.

The recipe originated at a blog called Real Mom Kitchen.  As Laura explains in her post:  in Utah there is a cookie shop by the name of Over the Top Cookies. Instead of mixing specialty ingredients, like unique candy pieces, into their cookie dough, they scatter them over the tops of the cookies (hence the name of their shop).  What Laura shared was her copycat recipe for their Peanut Butter Cup Collision Cookies -- a peanut butter cookie with peanut butter cups on top.

I wish this recipe had been around when my kids were young.

Besides adding my signature step-by-step photos and detailed instructions, the changes I made to Laura's recipe, while small, are worth noting:  I made the cookies smaller by using a 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop instead of a 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop (which Laura did not specify in her recipe).  My recipe yields 3 dozen, 3"-round cookies.  Laura's yields 18 larger cookies.  I did this for no other reason than a big cookie is too much richness in one sitting for me.  I chose to use crunchy peanut butter too -- a preference of mine.  To insure that all of my cookies baked up identically, I chose to chill each pan of cookie dough for exactly 15 minutes, as well as keep the chopped Reese's cups chilled too, prior to baking -- a technique I highly recommend to you.

IMG_11753/4  cup salted butter, at room temperature, very soft

1  cup sugar

1  cup light brown sugar

1  cup Jiff extra-crunchy peanut butter

2  large eggs, at room temperature

1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 1/4  teaspoons baking soda

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2  cups milk chocolate chips

45  mini-Reeses peanut butter cups

IMG_1177~ Step 1.  While the butter and eggs are coming to room temperature, unwrap, then chill the peanut butter cups for about an hour.  Once they are cold, which makes them easier to cut, slice each one into four pieces, placing the pieces in a  bowl as you work.  Place the bowl of chilled peanut butter cup pieces back in the refrigerator and keep them chilled for the entirety of the the mixing, and parts of the baking process, meaning:  remove them from the refrigerator on an as-needed basis as you bake.

IMG_1181 IMG_1181~Step 2.  In a large bowl, on medium-high speed of electric mixer, place and thoroughly combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula, about 1 minute.

IMG_1187 IMG_1187 IMG_1187 IMG_1187~Step 3.  Remove the mixer.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Using the rubber spatula, thoroughly fold in the the flour -- this will take a minute or two.  A thick, uniformly colored cookie dough will have formed.  Add and fold the milk chocolate chips into the cookie dough.

IMG_1200 IMG_1200 IMG_1200 IMG_1200~Step 4.  Using a 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place 12 rounded-scoops of cookie dough, well-apart on each of 3, 17 1/2" x 11 1/2" baking pans that have been lined with parchment paper (12 cookies on each pan).  Using the palm of your hand, slightly flatten the tops of the cookies.  When all cookies are on the pans and all the cookies are slightly flattened:

IMG_1221 IMG_1221 IMG_1221 IMG_1221 IMG_1234~Step 5.  Work one-pan-at-a-time, meaning:  Chill a pan of cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When first pan comes of out of refrigerator, place the second pan in. When the second pan comes out, place the third pan in.  When each pan comes out of refrigerator:  Bake on center rack of preheated 350° oven for 10 minutes -- cookies will be very soft but puffed through to their centers.  Remove from oven and lightly press 5 pieces of chilled and chopped Reese's cups into the top of each cookie.  Return to oven and bake an additional 3 1/2-4 minutes.  Cookies will be slightly brown around the edges.  Cool cookies, on pans, about 5 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Cool on pans 5 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.

IMG_1250Cooled Reese's will firm-up-slightly but remain pleasantly soft.

IMG_1262Milk chocolate and peanut butter nirvana:

IMG_1313Over-the-Top Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:  Recipe yields 3 dozen, 3"-round cookies.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 3, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1 3/4" ice-cream scoop; thin spatula; wire cooling rack.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb094ab501970d-800wiCook's Note:  To make candy out of milk chocolate and peanut butter, I can't say enough about the recipe I was given by my friend and pastry chef from Ohio:  ~ Confection Perfection:  Theresa's Buckeye Candies ~.  There are a lot of recipes for these famous candies out there, but, they all pale in comparison to hers.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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