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, peanut butter blossoms 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!
Brown butter peanut butter blossom cookies are the next-level version of a peanut butter cookie that’s so ubiquitous, I have memories of the mothers of my kindergarten classmates baking them for our annual Christmas party.
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 chewy 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.
These easy peanut butter blossom cookies are IT!
How to Make the Best Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
This recipe is aligned closely enough with the “original” peanut butter blossom cookie recipes I found (think peanut butter blossoms Pillsbury, Taste of Home, church cookbooks, etc.) to preserve the nostalgia and tradition that comes along with baking and eating them, BUT I’ve made a few small changes that make all of the difference in the world.
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.
- 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 European style butter.
Regular 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.
- Flour. I used a mixture of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour for this recipe.
- Sugar. Adds a touch of sweet, sugary goodness.
- Egg. Binds everything together.
- Peanut Butter. For rich, creamy peanut butter flavor! I do not recommend using natural-style peanut butter (made with salt and peanuts only), as it is less predictable in baking.
- If you need to make your blossom cookies without peanut butter, you could try swapping in almond butter instead. I have not tried this adaptation, so I’d love to hear how it goes.
- Vanilla Extract. One of my favorite ingredients to add in cookie recipes. Make sure to use pure, not imitation vanilla.
- Chocolate Kiss Candies. The pièce de résistance! I chose to make classic milk chocolate blossom cookies, but you could try using other kiss flavors on your cookies if you prefer (I suspect the caramel ones would be incredible).
- Heat your butter in a small, light colored saucepan until completely melted, foaming, and crackling. Swirl the pan occasionally until the butter turns toasty brown. Whisk frequently, and watch carefully to make sure it does not burn. Once it turns the color of a pecan, remove and pour into a large mixing bowl. Let cool.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- After the butter has cooled, add the sugar, and beat until well combined. Beat in the egg, then the remaining wet ingredients.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat until the flour disappears. Cover the bowl, and chill in the refrigerator. Do NOT skip this step! Since the butter was melted, it needs to firm back up.
- After it has chilled, remove the dough and let rest at room temperature until soft enough to scoop.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and add remaining sugar to a shallow dish or bowl.
- Portion out your cookie dough into balls (1 tablespoon each), and roll each ball in the sugar mixture. Add the cookie dough balls to the baking sheets, and bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F. When the tops are barely beginning to crack, remove the cookies. Don’t over bake!
- Press a chocolate kiss candy into the center of each cookie, and let cool completely. Or, dive right in and enjoy the gooey chocolatey goodness!
Why Are My Peanut Butter Blossoms Dry?
- If your peanut butter blossoms are dry, it’s because you have too much flour or too little liquid (or a combo of both!). I honestly also think that too many peanut butter blossom recipes are dry as they are written; that is why I took extreme care to make sure this recipe produces moist, chewy peanut butter blossom cookies.
- When making this recipe, don’t skimp on the butter (it acts like a liquid ingredient). I don’t recommend trying to use shortening instead of butter. Shortening will not produce the same soft, moist results as butter does.
- Measure your flour carefully. Adding even a little too much flour can throw off the liquid amount in the cookie dough and will yield a dry cookie. To measure: spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then level it off (versus packing it into the cup) so that you don’t have too much flour. You also can “cheat” the spoon method by using your measuring cup to “fluff” the flour in the bag or container first, then scoop it into the cup and level it off.
How to Make the BEST Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies—A Few More Recipe Tips
- 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.
- Chill The Dough. Have you ever tried to make peanut butter blossoms and ended up wondering, “why do my peanut butter blossom cookies go flat?” Using too much butter or not chilling the cookie dough was likely the cause.
- For this recipe, 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 definitely worth the wait.
- Roll The Balls To 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. Note: I do not recommend using 100% whole wheat flour, or your peanut butter blossoms may be dry; whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid that all-purpose flour.
- Keep The Kiss Soft. Press the chocolate kisses into the cookies a few minutes after the cookies out of the oven. You want the kiss to melt a little bit so that it stays softer even after it sets but it’s so soft that it loses its shape. Three minutes after the cookies are out of the oven is the sweet spot for me.
How Long do Peanut Butter Blossoms Last?
- When stored properly, peanut butter blossoms should last up to 5 days.
- To Store. Store cooked and cooled peanut butter blossoms in an airtight storage container at room temperature.
Can You Freeze Kiss Cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these peanut butter blossom kiss cookies!
- To Freeze After Baking. 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.
- To Freeze Before Baking. 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 European style unsalted butter such as Land O'Lakes Extra Creamy or Kerrygold
- 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.
- TO STORE: Store cooked and cooled peanut butter blossoms in an airtight storage container at room temperature.
- TO FREEZE AFTER BAKING: 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.
- TO FREEZE BEFORE BAKING: 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.
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