Big cookies are better than regular-sized cookies. But mega cookies are the BEST.
I can’t think of anything more tempting than a giant cookie. They always look so good in bakeries, like the antidote to a gloomy day or a sleepless night. Or both.
Back in high school, I had a bit of a dirty secret. You see, my parents never packed me lunch. I guess they trusted me to do it myself, just like they trusted me to change the sheets on my bed or do homework instead of watching reruns of Family Matters. Sorry, but I still think Urkel is kind of hilarious.
The problem is, I never had time to pack lunch, or the organizational skills required. I’d be rushing out the door and the thought of making a sandwich seemed really arduous. So instead, I usually relied on my best buddy to get me through: Little Debbie.
If you’ve never had a Little Debbie snack cake, your life is bleak. My lunches consisted of Swiss fudge rolls, oatmeal cream pies, nutty bars, and zebra cakes. The cafeteria line sold them for 50 cents, and back then it always seemed like a good idea to buy a snack cake along with a carton of milk and some pretzels and call it lunch. My grownup self is a little horrified and a little awed at my past self’s nutrition deficit.
What happened as a result of those four years is that I set a horrible precedent for lunch. Lunch became, to me, synonymous with eating dessert. In college, the tradition continued when I would stop at TCBY almost every day, despite a cashier who kept hitting on me, to buy frozen yogurt for lunch. On off days, I’d buy a Coke Slurpee and eat it with tortilla chips. Not a poster girl for healthy eating at all.
As an adult, I do manage nutritious lunches most of the time. But there are days when my younger self kicks in and all I want is a cookie the size of my head for lunch. Or a big vat of frozen yogurt. When those days come, I give into them. And that’s how this cookie was born.
A few weeks ago, back at Hershey’s Chocolate World, I spied these giant peanut butter cup cookies with a Reese’s in the middle. Beautiful, no?
Like any baking blogger worth my salt (or sugar), I set out to make the same thing at home but better. See, the making of a copycat recipe is a finely tuned process fraught with many obstacles. Usually, you don’t get it right on the first try. You have to keep experimenting, which I did. And boy, was I happy with the final result!
I decided to make this recipe single-serve. In other words, these are too dang dangerous to make in large batches. I also decided to make these seriously, um, moist. I’m sorry to use that word, I really am. But a perfect peanut butter cookie has to be chewy and not dry and a little underbaked. In fact, I wanted my site name to be Underbaked when I first started blogging, but somebody had the name already. Darn it.
When I saw the cookie at Chocolate World, I did what any normal baking blogger would do. I tore it apart. Like, with my hands. Broke it into pieces, studied it, took notes. I kid you not. Then when I made its big sister here, I changed a couple of things. Like the moistness. And I changed the drizzle from white chocolate to milk. The thing I loved most about the cookie, the giant peanut butter cup chunks, remained intact.
And yes, this cookie was lunch. I would love to make this more, but honestly, it’s seriously lethal stuff. I defy any bakery to produce a better result. However, I do not dare Little Debbie to do anything. My snack cake girlfriend is perfect just the way she is!
- In a bowl, mix the softened butter and both sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg substitute and vanilla, mixing again until everything is smooth. Stir in the peanut butter and whisk until combined smoothly. Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until a dough has formed.
- Take two of the peanut butter cups and chop each into six large pieces. Fold those pieces into the dough, making sure they're well distributed.
- Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Place the cookie dough on the cookie sheet, forming a thick disc about 3-4 inches across and one inch up.
- Place the remaining peanut butter cup firmly in the center of the dough.
- Chill the cookie for one hour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Place the cookie in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes until it's just starting to brown on top.
- Remove from the oven. Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookie.
- Let the chocolate cool and harden, about two hours. Devour.