Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
At the risk of being put on the naughty list, I’m going to admit something about the enduringly popular, borderline iconic, and (at least here in the Midwest) obligatory cookie tray essential, peanut butter blossom cookies: I’ve never fully understood the hype. Most of the peanut butter kiss cookies I’ve tried were dry and lacking in peanut butter pow, and the kiss was awkward to bite. Still, they are so well loved (and I do so love peanut butter), that I decided to see if I could create an updated version that would please blossom cookie lovers and blossom cookie skeptics alike. The results: Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies. THIS is the cookie I’ve been missing all along!
This recipe is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.
Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies are the next-level version of a cookie that’s so ubiquitous, I have memories of it starting with moms of my kindergarten classmates baking them for our annual Christmas party.
At our office cookie exchanges, not one but two people were sure to bring a batch of blossoms.
Stop a stranger in the grocery store and ask him/her what their favorite Christmas cookie is, and I’ll wager you a bag of chocolate kisses they’ll answer chocolate peanut butter blossom cookies 50 percent of the time.
In theory, Peanut Butter Blossoms have everything going for them in the cookie department. They’re easy, their combination of chocolate and peanut butter is timeless and ever satisfying, and they eliminate the difficult choice between candy or cookies for dessert. In a single peanut butter blossom, you should have it all.
In my nerdy, curious baker fashion, I went digging through the internet, old-school church cookbooks I’ve collected at garage sales, and some of my own all-time favorite peanut butter cookie recipes. I compared ingredients, opened my jar of peanut butter, and went to work on a recipe for easy peanut butter blossoms that everyone, both those who’ve loved peanut butter kiss cookies all along and those who, like me, still needed convincing, would absolutely adore.
Yes, yes, yes, Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies, you are it!
This recipe is aligned closely enough with the “originals” to preserve the nostalgia and tradition that comes along with baking and eating them, BUT I’ve made a few small changes. Those little twists all add up to a softer, more elevated, and (at least in this peanut-butter-cookie-lover’s opinion) better-tasting cookie.
How to Make the Best Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Use Butter! Making the peanut butter blossom cookies with butter was my first and most important change. Many of the original peanut butter blossom cookies recipes call for shortening, which, in my opinion, lacks flavor and doesn’t yield as soft of a texture. Butter is where it is at in the cookie department, for now and forever amen.
- Use THE BEST Butter. These cookies have very few ingredients, and every one of them matters.
When I really want to wow or have the flavor of butter shine, I use Land O Lakes® Extra Creamy Unsalted Butter. Regular Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter is my go-to for everyday baking and recipe testing, but for those times when I want to put a special finishing touch on a recipe or up the decadence, I go for the extra creamy. It’s reminiscent of European butter since it has a higher milkfat content, and higher milkfat = bigger butter bang. You can use the same amount of extra creamy unsalted butter in any recipe that calls for regular unsalted butter.
And speaking of butter, we’ve arrived at my next critical recipe twist:
- Brown the Butter. The process of browning butter in a pan prior to using it toasts the milk solids in the butter so you can taste its flavor even more. It gives the cookies an even richer, almost caramelized flavor and is probably why Ben’s coworkers had finished the leftovers I forced myself to send with him to the office by 9:15 a.m.
Browning the butter melts it, so you do have to chill the cookie dough for at least four hours prior to baking to ensure they don’t spread all over your baking sheet. It’s worth the wait. As an additional bonus for your patience, melting the butter means you don’t have to remember to let it come to room temperature first.
How to Make Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies—A Few More Recipe Tips
- Roll the balls the size the recipe suggests. It results in the perfect cookie-to-kiss ratio and a soft, sublime peanut butter cookie texture.
- Go half whole wheat. While these aren’t full-on healthy peanut butter blossom cookies (it is the holidays, and if ever there were a time to relax and enjoy, this is it), I used half white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. You can’t taste the difference one bit, and every small change counts.
- To keep the kiss softer, press it into the cookie a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. You want the kiss to melt a little bit so that it stays softer even after it sets but not so much that it loses its shape. Three minutes is the sweet spot for me.
Baking and Freezing
- In the event of leftovers, an influx of cookies, or your own baking zeal outpacing what your family can eat, peanut butter blossom cookies can be frozen. Fully bake them (including adding the kiss). Let the cookies cool to completely to room temperature, then freeze in an airtight bag.
- You can also portion the dough into balls, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then pop the entire sheet into the freezer. Once the cookie dough balls harden, transfer them to an airtight bag. Bake directly from frozen.
Are peanut butter blossom cookies a part of your holiday cookie tradition? Be it yes or no, I hope you’ll give this brown butter version a try! I haven’t asked Santa yet, but I have a feeling making a big batch of these for someone you love is a guaranteed spot on the nice list.
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) Land O Lakes® Extra Creamy Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour — or swap additional all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar — divided (1/4 cup for the cookies, 1/2 cup for rolling)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg — at room temperature
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter — I do not recommend the natural-style peanut butter made from only peanuts or peanuts and salt, as it is less predictable in baking
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 24 chocolate kiss candies — unwrapped (about half of an 11-ounce bag)
Set out a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat the butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over medium low. This will take several minutes. Continue to heat until butter melts completely, foams and crackles, turns clear golden (the crackling will stop), then turns toasty brown, swirling the pan periodically. This entire process will take 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon your pan. Once the butter begins to smell lightly nutty, whisk it frequently, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Watch the pan carefully in the last few minutes to ensure that the butter does not burn. As soon as the bits of butter in the bottom of the pan turn the color of a pecan, remove the butter from the heat and pour it immediately into the reserved mixing bowl to prevent the butter from burning. Let the butter cool to room temperature. IT MUST COOL before you add any other ingredients to it. If you like, you can speed this process along by putting the bowl in the refrigerator.
While the butter cools, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt.
Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is well combined, about 1 full minute. Add the egg and beat again until combined, about 1 minute more, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract, then beat on medium-high speed until fully combined.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients into the bowl. Beat on low speed, just until the flour disappears. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. (Overnight is recommended). Do not skip chilling the full time, as the butter needs to resolidify and the dry ingredients absorb the wet for the cookies to have the right texture and flavor.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is soft enough to easily scoop and roll.
Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish or bowl. (A pie dish is perfect.)
Once the dough has rested, portion it by 1 tablespoonfuls and roll it into dough balls. Roll each ball in the sugar and arrange on the baking sheet, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 12 minutes, or until the tops are barely beginning to crack. If your oven has hot spots or tends to bake a little unevenly, switch the pans’ positions halfway through. Remove the cookies from the oven and place the sheets on a wire cooling rack. Let cool on the sheet for 3 minutes.
Press a chocolate kiss candy into the center of each cookie, then transfer the cookies from the baking sheet directly onto the wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely if you’d like the kiss to harden, or dive right in and enjoy the delicious, melty mess.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 cookie) — Calories: 170, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Carbohydrates: 18g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Protein: 3g
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