Salted Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cookies
As a kid Peanut Butter cookies were always a favorite for me. Maybe because I grew up eating so many peanut butter and honey sandwiches…I don’t know. And still peanut butter is one of those things I’ve continued to crave even as I’ve grown well into adulthood. It brings me back to childhood and is just soooo satisfying. So when I was thinking of what kind of sweet I’d like to bring along on my Mother’s Day Picnic peanut butter cookies immediately came to mind. But to satisfy the gourmet foodie in me I decided to challenge myself into making a more complex version of the original masterpiece. Not that there’s anything wrong with a plain old peanut butter cookie….but I do have to say I really love the way these turned out because you get the salty and the crunch from the peanut brittle that is inside the cookie and then sprinkled on top.
The peanut brittle stores well and can be made a few days ahead of time to make this recipe less time consuming all at one time. Just store it in an air tight container on the counter (not the fridge) but watch out for little fingers who may want to sneak the batch before it’s cookie time! Well….big fingers too. I think I ate half of the first recipe of brittle before they ever saw the inside of the cookie dough.
The cookie dough can be made ahead too and stored in the fridge. It’s important to chill the dough before you bake your cookies for at least 30 minutes. These cookies also make a great hostess gift or thank you gift. Just pack them up in those cute cellophane bags, tie a bow around it and you are done!
*A quick note on the finishing salt. Maldon and Himalayan Sea Salt are flaky salts with a mild flavor. They kind of melt into the brittle and because we are reheating the brittle both in the cookie as it bakes and then for the last 2 minutes for the topping you aren’t going to see the salt as much as you will get a little bit of that flavor coming through. Another option is to reserve some of the salt and sprinkle on top when the cookie comes out of the oven. But the one thing to be aware of is you cannot replace finishing salt with table salt or even Kosher salt. It’s not the same and the brittle will be too salty.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Bake Time: 12-14 mins
Makes: 20-24 cookies
- SALTED PEANUT BRITTLE
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups salted, roasted peanuts
- 1 ½ teaspoons Maldon or Himalayan (flaky finishing salt)
- PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar (light or dark)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 large egg plus 1 yolk (room temperature)
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups of the peanut brittle pieces
- SALTED PEANUT BRITTLE. Butter or spray a baking sheet.
- In a medium sized heavy sauce pan combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt over medium to medium high heat. Whisk once or twice to combine and then let it sit as you bring to a simmer. The mixture will go from small bubble to big foamy bubbles as it thickens. You can use a pastry brush with a little water on it to brush down the sides so they don’t burn. The mixture should get to a medium amber color; or just at 320 on your candy thermometer. It took 25 minutes on my stove but exact time will vary a bit.
- Immediately put the butter and baking soda in the mixture whisk and then add in the nuts and quickly remove from the heat. The mixture will start to seize up immediately. Place the mixture on the baking sheet and flatten as best you can into an even layer. Sprinkle the salt evenly across one side with half of the Maldon or Himalayan finishing salt and then once it starts to cool flip it over and salt the other side.
- After 20-30 minutes place a piece of wax paper over the top of the brittle and using a heavy object (rolling pin, heavy pan) break the brittle down into small pieces. You can leave some of the bigger chunks for the top but the ones that go into the cookies should be smaller. *The brittle can store in an airtight container for several days.
- PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE
- In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Sift once to combine.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the butter and egg. Beat with a paddle attachment until the butter is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix until combined.
- Slowly add in the flour mixture and turn the mixer on low speed to incorporate. Then add in the 2 cups of peanut brittle until just combined, only a few seconds. Refrigerate the dough in a bowl covered with saran wrap for at least 30 minute
- Preheat oven to 325 (if using convection) or 350 for a regular oven. Spray a sheet pan with oil or use a Silpat baking sheet. Using an ice cream scoop place a heaping scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet until it’s filled up. It will take a few batches. Using a fork press down once in each direction to give the cookie the fork indentations and also to flatten out the dough a bit. Bake for 12 minutes and then remove and top with more brittle. Bake for 2 more minutes and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. The brittle may stick to the cookie sheet a bit so use a metal spatula to work around it as it’s cooling to make it easier. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.