Best start hiding the Halloween candy from your kids now—you’re going to need every last piece for these Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies.
With lightly crispy edges that give way to a perfectly soft and chewy centers, melting puddles of chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and hints of flakey sea salt, these peanut butter Snickers cookies are gunning for the title “Most Likely To Keep Your Hand in the Cookie Jar.” They are my childhood dream trick-or-treat haul, combined with my grown-up quest for splendid flavor combinations, fused with my lifelong lust for cookies that achieve that perfect, yet often elusive, soft and chewy texture.
Our neighborhood has an organized date for trick-or-treating, usually on the Sunday before Halloween, so last weekend, I rushed to Target to stock up on the good stuff. Despite our serious lack of holiday decor, I refused to be the house that only offers Mike ‘N Ikes or Smarties (sorry if you are a fan; try a different house), so I arrived home with the jumbo-sized Snickers variety pack, the Starbursts/Skittles pack (for those crazy people who prefer sticky fruity candy over chocolate), with a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups for reinforcement.
Then our neighbor called to let us know that the neighborhood had moved Trick-or-Treat to the actual holiday itself at the last minute. The Snickers pack and I would need to co-exist peacefully for seven straight days. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of most store bought candy but…have you tried the Snickers Peanut Butter Squares? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Rather than sit around my house alone with a quietly expanding mount of empty candy bar wrappers, I decided to put our excess of Halloween candy to more noble use by transforming it into cookies. After one bite of the chewy, soft baked cookie laced with the hunks melted Reeses and oozing Snickers, I knew I’d never view candy bars the same way again. Start your Snickers and peanut butter cup stash now—you are going to want all of the leftover Halloween candy you can get to bake these peanut butter Snickers cookies!
About These Soft and Chewy Snickers Cookies
I cannot take credit for the perfectly textured dough that is the base of these peanut butter Snickers cookies. For that, all acclaims goes to Chef Mindy Segal, author of the cookbook Cookie Love. I’ve long been familiar with Mindy because she owns one of my favorite restaurants, HotChocolate. It’s just down the street from where one of my best friends lives in Chicago, and we’ve been going there together for almost eight years. When I saw that Mindy would be conducting a cooking demonstration at Kohler Food & Wine, I knew I had to go!
Thanks to The American Club—a AAA Diamond luxury resort, spa, and golf destination located in Kohler, Wisconsin—not only did I get to see Mindy demonstrate two incredible recipes from her new book (Apple Confit Breakfast Squares with Brown Butter Custard and Red Wine Pear Butter Kolaches; oh my, they were incredible), but I was able to interview Mindy too!
- Mindy’s key tip for home cooks is read a recipe all the way through and trust the writer by following the directions.
- Rather than take ideas from food trends, which she finds distracting and not very helpful, she focuses on keeping her food simple and seasonal. The weather and her environment inspires her. Chilly day? Count on a mug of her hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows.
- She confessed that her cookie jar currently holds homemade treats for her dog Bill (the recipe for which you can find in her book!).
- Recipes from her book to make ASAP: Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Scotchies, any of the shortbreads (I’ll start with the Pretzel Shortbread Sandwich Cookies please), and one of the rugelehs (how about Cocoa Nib Hot Fudge?).
The recipe inspiration for these peanut butter Snickers cookies came from Mindy’s recipe for Kitchen Sink Cookies. The original recipe featured a classic cookie dough with a touch of cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a homemade peanut butter ribbon, along with, well, the kitchen sink: hunks of pretzels, toasted pepitas, chewy raisins, and plenty of chocolate. I could easily imagine baking these cookies as a delightful way to clean out my pantry, and at the moment when I baked them, my pantry happened to be filled with Snickers bars and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
I kept Mindy’s base dough recipe almost identical. The cocoa and cinnamon were unexpected and wonderful, and as I’ve mentioned, the texture of these cookies is utter chewy perfection. Instead of the homemade peanut butter ribbon, I added a heavy amount of peanut butter cups and peanut butter Snickers, then for the other mix-ins, elected to use regular Snickers and dark chocolate chips to balance the sweetness. The combination was absolutely dreamy. I strongly suspect that chopped Milky Ways, Reeses pieces, or really any other chocolate or peanut butter candy bar would be heavenly too.
I highly encourage you to set a little extra Halloween candy aside now to bake these babies, and should have you have even more Halloween candy leftover on Sunday, this recipe is the perfect way to use it.
Highlights from Kohler Food and Wine
#1) Meeting Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine.
Not only did I get to watch Jacques—one of the most accomplished and well-known chefs in the world and a close friend of Julia Child’s—and Claudine complete a splendid cooking demonstration (and eat their food!), I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit with them both afterwards. Listening to their stories of the importance of cherished recipes and food memories in their family made me recall the special recipes of my own family. By the end of our chat, I was tearing up, and then JACQUES KISSED ME ON BOTH CHEEKS. I may or may not still be waiting to wash my face.
Jacques also addressed a signed copy of his new book Heart and Soul in the Kitchen to me, as did Claudine with her new book Kids Cook French. I’ve been pouring over both and definitely recommend them!
#2) The Champions Dinner at Whistling Straits
In addition to the dozens of celebrity chef cooking demos, wine tastings, and gourmet food experiences at Kohler Food and Wine, the event also offers a fabulous array of food and wine dinners, one of which Ben and I were fortunate enough to attend. It was called the Champion’s Dinner and was located at Whistling Straits, the stunning golf course that hosted this year’s PGA Championship. Their chef prepared a four course dinner I’ll be dreaming about for weeks, and each course was perfectly pared with Ponzi Vineyards wine. Both the chef and the vineyard’s owner were there to tell us about each course and took questions, so the experience was very personal. The setting at the Whistling Straits restaurant was also stunning. I felt like I was in a cozy, beautiful Irish farmhouse, which just happened to be set on Lake Michigan. The roaring fire place (pictured above) was lovely too!
#3) Chef Grant MacPherson’s Cooking Demonstration
While it’s most common to think of wine as a pairing with food, Chef Grant MacPherson, who has cooked on five continents and served as executive chef at world-class restaurants and hotels created a three course menu, with each matching a different beer. My favorite was the spicy chicken wing with a buckwheat waffle and cold glass of Stella Artois.
#4) Wandering the Gourmet Market
In addition to the different demonstrations, Kohler Food & Wine also offers a gourmet food hall where you can sample fine cheeses, jams, wines, liquors, and all other sorts of craft fare.
#5) Soaking in The American Club
Honestly, I love this place. It’s a beautiful resort with incredible hospitality, a relaxing spa, and phenomenal food, all in a stunning, welcoming setting. If you ever have a chance to visit, I cannot recommend it enough! Ben and I had the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin Food Favorites event at The American Club earlier this year, and I’ve been hoping to return since.
Interested in visiting? While The American Club is wonderful for any weekend, you can make the most of it by attending one of its special events. The Comedy Weekend and Holiday Market are up next, and I can’t imagine a better early Christmas gift than the Five Star Dine Around.
More Scrumptious Cookie Recipes
- Healthy Oatmeal Cookies
- Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
- Brown Butter Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies
- Rum Snickerdoodles
And now without further ado, the most brilliant way to use leftover Halloween candy (or a really, really good reason to buy yourself a bag of Snickers bars and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!).
Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies
For the Dough:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups diced chocolate peanut butter candy bars loosely packed, such as Reeses, Peanut Butter Snickers, or Reeses Pieces
- 1 1/4 cups additional diced leftover candy: Snickers Milky Way, M&Ms, or additional peanut butter candy bars
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks, Mindy recommends at least 64% cocoa
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed for 10 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, then beat for 4 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and the mixture is pale.
- Crack the egg in a small bowl and beat lightly with the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture, then mix on medium speed, just until the mixture is combined and an even texture, 20 to 30 seconds. Don't over mix!
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once, then mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, just until the batter comes together but still looks shaggy. Add the candy mix-ins and chocolate chips. Mix briefly, just until incorporated.
- Scoop the dough by 1 1/2 tablespoons into mounds on top of the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate the pan, then lightly tap the pan on your stove top or the oven rack to flatten the cookies. Continue baking until the edges are set and the centers have fallen and are beginning to crisp and brown, about 4 additional minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
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I would like to thank The American Club for hosting Ben and I for a day of Kohler Food and Wine. It was a wonderful opportunity for which I am sincerely grateful. I was not obligated to write this post or review Cookie Love, but am doing so because I truly enjoyed them.