When I first decided to start this 12 Cookies of Christmas project, I made my list of cookies I wanted to bake. It was a tough decision, but I came up with exactly 12. Of that original list, one-third of the cookies turned out to be a disaster. I was able to come up with some replacements for the others, but today... today I hit a wall. I had 3 more cookies on the list to make, but not enough time to get them done with everything else I had to do today. I needed something quick and easy, but still fun and festive. And I couldn’t come up with a single thing. After sitting there staring at various cookbooks and websites for almost 45 minutes, I finally had a flash of inspiration. My mom had said she was making Buckeye candies for Christmas again this year. Why not turn that idea into cookies!
Growing up, we ALWAYS made Buckeyes for Christmas. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, they’re basically balls of sweetened peanut butter dipped into chocolate, resembling the nut from our state tree here in Ohio.) We’d make hundreds of them, filling our big freezer with every Tupperware container we had, and standing over the stove for hours, dipping ball after ball into melted chocolate. It was an intense undertaking, and by the end of the batch, we’d start rolling the balls bigger and bigger, some practically golf ball sized, just to be finished. A couple years, we just smashed the end of it all together to make one huge peanut butter chunk we’d keep in the fridge to just slice pieces off of. They’re definitely a treat that I love to eat, but hate to make. Luckily, these cookies will give you the same taste, without all the work.
The recipe comes from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen. I booked marked these as soon as I saw them on Tastespotting about a month ago, thinking they looked fantastic. I didn’t realize until a couple weeks later that Sweet Pea’s Kitchen is actually the blog of a friend of mine from years ago. Our moms had worked together and we actually went to school together from elementary school through high school! What better recipe to use than one that reminds me of childhood from an actual childhood friend! They’re delicious chocolate cookies filled with a creamy center of peanut butter—just like the Buckeye candies, with only a fraction of the work! I can definitely see myself making these again and again. Especially during football season.
Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Makes about 20 cookies
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar (plus more for rolling)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugars, and ¼ cup of peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beating to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl mix together peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar for filling, stirring until smooth.
5. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, flatten a tablespoon of dough into a 2 1/2 to 3-inch circle with your hands. Place about a teaspoon of peanut butter filling in the center of the dough. Wrap the dough around the peanut butter, pressing to seal. Gently roll the dough into a ball, being careful not to squish the peanut butter filling out, and roll the ball in granulated sugar to coat. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using the flat bottom of a glass, press the cookies down gently, flattening to about ½ inch thick.
6. Bake, rotating halfway through, for 7 to 9 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.