Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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This is one yummy peanut butter cookie. It is neither too dry and crumbly, nor too moist. It is the perfect balance between crunchy and chewy. When I made these, they yielded quite a few dozen. I sent some to David’s office and put the rest in the freezer. They are very good fresh, but I also love pulling one out of the freezer (pretty much every day) and having a nice little peanut buttery, chocolate-y snack. These would be perfect for your Christmas cookie jar, but once filled, you better guard it closely! Make sure you plan accordingly when you make these cookies, the dough needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before baked. The authors of Baked advise against substituting a darker chocolate for the milk chocolate.  Semisweet chips taste almost bitter against the peanut butter, whereas milk chocolate is a “natural and delightful combo”.

from: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
yield: 2 dozen larger cookies or 3+ dozen smaller cookies

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
6 ounces good milk chocolate, coarsely chopped

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Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and beat until just incorporated.

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Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

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Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a small or large cookie scoop, scoop and roll dough into balls and roll around in a bowl of granulated sugar. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. With the palm of your hand, very gently press each cookie down so it forms a very tall disk shape. Do not press too hard, and do not press it flat.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies just begin to brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the individual cookies to the rack to cool completely.

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The cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days. (Or frozen for weeks…if they last that long.)

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