If you’re looking for a cookie that’s sure to impress, look no further than these crispy Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies! With the addition of rich chocolate creme sandwiched between them, they’re a peanut butter lover’s dream!
Easy Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies with Chocolate Creme
I first discovered this recipe for Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies from The Baking Sheet, the newsletter from the good folks at King Arthur Flour. While there’s an alternate vanilla creme filling in the original, we all know that chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination, so clearly there’s no question that the chocolate creme is the way to go.
These cookies will be welcomed any time of year for most any occasion or no occasion at all. While there’s nothing inherently Christmas-y about these cookies—no peppermint or festive sprinkles!—they’re definitely an excellent addition to a holiday cookie platter because they’re rich, decadent, and they even look impressive. You can use a holiday-themed cookie cutter if you like, but don’t use anything too fussy—lots of details can make it hard to add the chocolate creme without making a mess!
What You’ll Need
If you don’t want to make these into sandwiches, you can skip the filling ingredients. Dipping the finished cookies in melted chocolate works too, or just enjoy them as-is!
For the cookies:
- Unsalted butter – Take the butter out of the fridge about half an hour before baking to allow it to soften properly.
- Creamy peanut butter – I don’t recommend using natural peanut butter for recipes like this.
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract
- Egg – The egg should also be room temperature.
- Heavy cream or sour cream
- All-purpose flour
For the filling:
- Unflavored gelatin – This helps solidify the filling.
- Cold water
- Vegetable shortening or butter
- Vanilla extract
- Dutch-process cocoa powder – This type of cocoa powder is darker in color and less acidic than natural cocoa powder.
- Confectioners’ sugar
How to Make Peanut Butter Cutout Cookies With Chocolate Creme Filling
If you want to break things up a bit, you can make the cookies a day or two in advance, then make the filling and assemble.
To make the cookies:
Make the cookie dough. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Once these ingredients are well-mixed, beat in the egg, followed by 1/8 cup of cream, the cornstarch, and 1 & 1/2 cups of flour. When these ingredients are incorporated, beat in the remaining cream and flour.
Chill the dough. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half slightly. Wrap the halves in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
Cut the cookies. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, then roll each half of dough into a 1/8- to 1/4-inch circle. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut the dough, and place the cut dough on the prepared baking sheets. You can gather up the scraps, roll them out again, and continue to cut cookies until you can’t make any more.
Bake. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until set, but not browned.
Cool. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to finish cooling. (Learn more: Why Every Baker Needs Wire Cooling Racks)
To make the filling:
Dissolve the gelatin. Combine the gelatin and water in a small heat-proof cup or bowl, then place the bowl in a larger bowl of hot water to gently warm the gelatin and water mixture until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is clear. Remove the bowl or cup from the hot water and let it come to room temperature until cooled but not set.
Combine remaining filling ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening (or butter) with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, then slowly beat in the vanilla, cocoa, and confectioners’ sugar. Add the gelatin and mix well.
Assemble. Spread the filling on the bottom of a cookie, then press another cookie onto it, sandwiching the filling between them.
Tips for Success
Here are some hints and tips I’ve discovered over the years while making these cookies.
- Use regular peanut butter. Not the fancy natural stuff! The problem with natural peanut butter is that its consistency can vary wildly, but your standard jar of peanut butter is pretty consistent from one brand to the next, which is important for baking.
- Keep the cookies from spreading. Chilling the dough makes it easy to work with and prevents the cookies from spreading when you bake them. If it takes you a while to cut the cookies out, you might want to pop the baking sheets in the fridge for a little bit to re-chill the dough before baking.
- Mess-free assembly. Make sure you leave a bit of a margin and don’t frost all the way to the edges when you’re adding the filling. This way, once you press the cookies together, the filling will reach the edges without spilling over.
How to Store
Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough for this recipe and get a head start on holiday baking, or you can freeze the cookies once they’ve been baked or assembled. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.