Magic in the Middle Cookies

I think I am in love.

It’s cold outside (ok 15 degrees, but that’s freezing for here!), rain is lashing at my windows, I am burrowed in fleece and have put socks on. And yet, I am happy and blissfully satisfied. I have found the one.

I have never really been a reveller on the cookie bandwagon. I kind of straggled alongside every now and then and baked them for the sake of, or for a family treat. It was a casual interest and nothing serious on my part. I could take or leave a cookie.

This Magic in the Middle, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie is an entirely different matter. Delicious is a thoroughly inadequate word. In this case, imitating the truth in life,  it’s not about the looks but what’s inside that counts. This is genius. Fact. I like a chewy cookie, which this is, not too sweet, which it isn’t and definitely not crumbly. There should be a squidge factor of some sort. Demanding? Me?

I have been salivating at the photos and the sound of this cookie that I found on this blog. It was always there, mulling around in the back of my mind. It comes under the rainy day baking category and I guess I have been waiting for the right time. Don’t do it if you are crunched by the clock. Enjoying the process is part of the fun and I promise you, it will be more, much more, than just the sum of its parts. For me, a overcast sky and a quiet house, with lots of free time on my hands was the opportune moment. There are a few steps to this, but its like making meatballs. It’s not technical neither is it labourious. Just a bit fiddly and takes a bit of time. Personally, I found the repetitive action of making 56 identical balls of dough rather soothing.

Make two doughs. Roll both seperately, the chocolate one being bigger than the peanut one. Make an indentation into the chocolate dough and place in a ball of the nut dough. Gently wrap the chocolate dough around the nut one, covering it completely. The chocolate dough is extremely maleable and easy to work with. Oh, CSI style disposable gloves come in very handy. Don’t get too uptight about making a perfectly covered ball of dough. Perfection in execution is not a requirement here. It will still taste absolutely fantastic even if some of the gold dough pokes out. Try, at least, not to get too hung up about it.

Bake, for seven minutes, which gives you enough time to get a warm glass of milk and ready a chair to swoon into nearby. When you get the heady scent of chocolate, the cookies are done. Warning; these are soft when they come out. By all means, take the risk of burning your lips while hot crumbs trail its way into your top. I did and I couldn’t care less. If you can wait, like a sensible person, it would be the better, more calm inducing method.

Now I have fiddled with it a bit. I reduced the original sugar content from 100g down to 75g. It’s not essential, just a personal preference. For the peanut butter filling, I added as much icing sugar as I wanted, in the sense, I stopped when I found it sweet enough. I used the Whole Earth brand of peanut butter as that is all I had. The texture of the middle will depend entirely on the brand of PnB you have. Also, it occurs to me, that you can leave out the nut butter called for in the chocolate dough. I didn’t find that it overpowered the chocolate flavour and indeed you can bake it straight off as it is. It’s all about personal preference. At least one can exercise the right of choice through cookies. I have given the recipe in both cups measure, as per the original recipe and in metric units, which I measured as I went along. You could use either.

As for the taste, it is magic. The depth and bitterness of the chewy chocolate cookie is perfectly contrasted against the salty, sweet and nutty filling. Truly, no cookies or biscuits have ever been devoured in such a speedy fashion in this house. Best pal who was visiting, along with her little girlie, my own kids and TheScotsman mumbled and mmmm-ed and aaaaah-ed their approval. Never and I say it again, never have cookies been demolished at such a rate. The Scotsman also asked for this to be baked for his workmates. Two days and the biscuit tin lies empty.

Which just means that I have to make another batch. Truly, such a torment!

Magic in the Middle Cookies

For the Chocolate Dough
1 1/2 (185 g) cups flour
1/2 cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar (I reduced it to 75g)
1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar 1/2 cup (100g) butter, softened
1/4 cup (65g) creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

For the peanut butter dough :
3/4 cup (185g) creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup (100g) sifted icing sugar ( I ended up using half this amount)


Preheat the oven to 180deg C. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

To make the dough: Beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy in your mixer. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well. It will make a thick but soft dough. Scoop a tablespoon’s measures worth and roll into a ball. Continue till all the dough is used.

To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and icing sugar until smooth. Using a teaspoon measure spoon or scoop, roll the filling into balls.

To shape the cookies: Make an indentation into the chocolate balls with your finger and place a peanut butter ball into it. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.

Using the bottom of a drinking glass, flatten each cookie to about 2.5cm thick. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, leave to cool and harden for five minutes. Remove carefully from the tray and cool on a rack.

Note : Please read changes made in the recipe in the blog post.

38 thoughts on “Magic in the Middle Cookies

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Well you know the thing about being a mama is that its always about the kids sometimes? So, perhaps, its not TOO bad a thing, to make a batch *just* for yourself ;-D There? Have I justified it for you! haha!

  1. NYinRome

    ahhhhh…..why why why do i come on here….i love choc and pnb….a great combo that i can never get enough of. Good choice you came up with, and i love the last photo Carrie, it’s got just about everything, texture warmth depth movement light height….ode to a cookie 😉

    1. thePatternedPlate

      NY, aww thanks, I have to say that its my favourite too! I switched them around as well and made that the intro picture. Wasn’t sure but hey a nudge in the right direction is very welcoming indeed! Yeah the proportion and depth worked so well. I am trying to push it out there a wee bit and hence the sort of dark, same shade backgrounds. Trying to get out of my comfort zone. As for these cookies, they are comfort in bite sizes 😀

        1. thePatternedPlate

          Yes Liz, sorry, the recipe is American and I missed that one in translation!!! 😛

          However, the only one I had was Whole Earth’s crunchy one, which I proceeded to blitz in my spice grinder. Sorted 🙂

    1. thePatternedPlate

      They are!!!!!!! 😀 They aren’t chewy as in giving your jawline a definition workout! it has a bit of bite which contrasts perfectly with the smooth, soft center…do try it Thanh. Or at the very least, perhaps adapt a basic chocolate cookie recipe you like and try it this way…

  2. jobakes

    Well I’m in difference here as my fave shots are the balls of PNB dough which looked at first like wee salad potatoes as I loaded the site on my dreadfully slow wifi connection here and the shot which follows with the different stages of dough ball rolling in. Scrap that – the latter is deffo my fave! It had me thinking of those animated “cartoons” off Morph the Plasticene Man off Tony Hart’s Art Beat children show – when I look at the shot, I imagine tanned hands reaching in and forming the PNB balls, then the discs of chocolate dough, then topping PNB onto choc, then pinching the choc up around the PNB and finally squishing down with the base of a glass. Can’t say how lovely a memory that is for me as I adored this kiddie’s show so very much, been a flaky arty child before the wee nugget of science in my brain took over! … But as for the cookies,I had a definite place in my heart for a chewy cookie (is it ok foodie-wise to admit I think the most perfect cookies I personally have had are Subways white choc and macadamia nut? Now they are chewy perfection!) so these are a must on my “to do” list 😀

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Oh I SO know those Subway cookies Jo! They are rather hard to beat and I loved the flat, chewy texture of them…and the size! I pretty much like the way most of the shots turned out 😀

  3. Linda

    Have our office Christmas party coming up – I know what I’m bringing! Yeah! I LOVE just about anything peanut butter: peanut butter cookies, PB&J, peanut butter balls (candy), peanut butter cookies with the kisses in the middle, peanut butter mud pie, African (Ghana) peanut soup, etc etc. All I can say is W.O.W.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for the recipe and beautiful pictures! Do I have permission to share the recipe?

    1. thePatternedPlate

      Hullo Linda. Yes I can see you have a love affair with peanuts! I’m not too far off it either. That peanut soup sounds intriguing! Thankyou for your lovely compliments and of course you can share the recipe…>Spread the love!

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    1. The Patterned Plate

      LOL no problem Allison! Why do you not make cookies often? They are fiddly things, admittedly, but with kids, there’s not always a choice…..hope you like them! Let me know what y ou think 🙂

      1. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

        I don’t know; that’s a good question… I don’t bake much in general I guess. And recently I’ve gotten more into baking tarts and cakes, but I’ve still probably only made cookies about 10 times in my life… no reason not to change that, though! 🙂 Especially since I do occasionally buy cookies (whereas I’d never buy a cake…), but homemade is much better, so I should remind myself that it’s worth the effort!

  8. Rushi!

    Ahhh the perfect symphony of flavours….Chocolate and peanut butter. Carrie it’s pretty cloudy here and I’m think it’ll rain soon, so I’m going to start my day by making cookies. I know what you mean about making cookies when it’s raining outside, it just makes those cookies taste so much better especially if you curl up with a good book 🙂

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