Just thinking about mom and grandma’s holiday baking makes my mouth water. Who can forget the neatly arranged cookie trays with an assortment of Christmas cookies, bite-size desserts, candy, and nuts sitting on the table just waiting to be eaten by joyful family and friends? My favorite Christmas cookies recipes were always the peanut butter cookie blossoms, spritz cookies, classic Christmas sugar cookie cutouts, Christmas cornflake wreaths, gingerbread men cookies, molasses cookies, Italian Christmas cookies, and Mexican wedding cookies.
Freshly baked cookies bring out the child in everyone. Especially when they’re as full of classic old-fashioned flavor as my Peanut Butter Cup Cookies. The holidays are a joyful time to be with family and friends. It’s where memories are made and traditions are shared. It’s no surprise to hear of so many special family traditions that have begun in the kitchen.
How to Bake Cookie Cups in Muffin Tin
Easy to eat and perfect for so many occasions. Make this chocolate wrapped candy stuffed cookies for holiday bake sales at school to office parties, church raffles, and family parties at home.
It starts with a traditional peanut butter cookie dough recipe. The dough is dropped into a muffin pan and molded into a stack while baking in the oven. Fresh out of the oven, the cookie cups are then stuffed with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup candy.
- Cream the butter and sugars.
- Beat in eggs, creamy peanut butter, milk, extract.
- Mix flour, salt, cornstarch, baking soda into wet ingredients.
- Refrigerate dough.
- Oil muffin tin.
- Roll dough into a ball then drop the chilled cookie dough into a greased mini muffin tin. While baking, the cookies will be molded into a cookie cup shape. If needed, use mini paper cupcake liners. If using a dark coated muffin tin, place an aluminum cookie sheet under it.
- Bake the cookies in the oven for 14-17 minutes.
- Press chocolate candy into each cup.
- Allow cookie to chill then transfer to a cooling rack. The chocolate cups melt and will need several hours to chill.
Stainless Steel VS Non-Stick Muffin Tin Pan
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies aren’t made with a cookie-cutter, instead, it’s baked like cupcakes in a tin. Perhaps, cookie cups could even be considered as a mini cookie cake, but now I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t bake much in dark non-stick pans. The reason for this is because baked goods can easily burn on the bottom due to absorbing too much heat from the dark coating during the baking process. However, the only mini cupcake pan I have is non-stick. Because I’m using my Peanut Butter Blossoms Cookie recipe for these cookie cups, I baked 1 scoop of dough in a 375 degree F oven to test things out and the cookie was too dark. Next, I lowered the oven to 350 degrees F, covered the bottom of the tin in foil and baked it for the same amount of time but the cookie didn’t rise much.
Finally, I placed the muffin pan on a stainless steel cookie sheet and baked it that way. The cookie cup bottom was golden brown and perfect in every way. I did have to bake them a little longer but they are perfect. No flat crunchy cookie, and nothing that falls apart.
To summarize, if using a nonstick baking pan, slip a stainless steel baking sheet under the muffin pan so that the muffin pan is literally on the baking sheet. This will prevent the cookies from browning too much.
Cookie & Dough Recipe Questions
Can I freeze the cookie dough? Yes. Start by placing the dough in plastic wrap and tightly seal it. Next, place it in a freezer-safe bag with the air removed. Label the bag and store it in the freezer. Cookie dough is good for 9-12 months. Place in the refrigerator the night before using or work the dough into the muffin tin cups. Bake cookies 1-3 minutes longer when using frozen cookie dough.
Can I make the cookies in advance and freeze them until Christmas? Yes, as long as they are wrapped well. To start, line a cookie sheet with the cookie cups. Next, place the pan in the freezer and flash freeze them for about 30 minutes. Then, double bag them in a freezer-safe bag with the air removed. Store them in the freezer 1-4 months. Spread them out on a sheet pan and allow them to defrost before serving.
Refrigerated raw unbaked cookie dough can remain in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. Be sure to wrap in plastic wrap and a bag if using the cookie for a later day.
- For easy removal of cookies from the tin, use cooking spray between each batch. After baking and pressing the mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup into the baked cookie dough, allow them to cool in the pan for 2-5 minutes. Use a toothpick to gently pick it up from the molded cup. If it’s still stuck, gently run a butter knife along the edges to release it.
- Reese’s candy needs to set. Wait for the chocolate to cool completely over several hours or overnight before storing in a bag.
- Cookie tray flavors. One of the worst things about a beautiful cookie tray assortment during the winter holidays is cookie flavors transferring and absorbing into one another. Nothing ruins a sweet cookie appetite more than tasting peppermint or rum on peanut butter, especially when least expecting it. As a tip, store a variety of baked cookies and tasty treats separate until party time.
- No muffin tin? Do bake the cookie dough in mini cupcakes liners. This is also an easy way to serve individual desserts for a school or work office party.
If you really love candy stuffed cookies, then you’ll love replacing the peanut butter cup candy with Rolos or a variety of Hersey kisses flavors work well with this recipe, too. Your grandmother may have called these mini peanut butter cup cookies by the classic names of Holiday Hideaway Cookies, peanut butter tarts, peanut butter temptations, and hidden treasure cookies.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tbsp milk
- 2 ¼ cups minus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1½ tbsp cornstarch if you don't have, replace with 1 tbsp flour
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 lb mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (about 58-60 cups)
- 3 tsp sea salt or large flake salt
- In a bowl fit with a mixer, cream butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar; about 5 minutes on medium-high.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in milk, and vanilla extract until combined; about 2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
- Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease mini muffin tin with oil or butter.
- Using a cookie scoop ( I use 3/4 tablespoon scoop ) scoop dough. Roll into ball then roll into a bowl with granulated sugar.
- Place round dough ball into muffin tin. TIP: If using a dark nonstick muffin tin, place an aluminum baking sheet under the muffin tin. This will help prevent the bottom of the cookies from burning.
- Bake in oven for 14-17 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
- Remove from oven. Place a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup into the center of each cookie.
- Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Allow cookies to cool 2-5 minutes. Use a toothpick or butter knife to gently lift the cookies out of the muffin tin. Place on cooling rack.
- Allow cookies to cool for several hours or overnight before storing in an air-tight container. The chocolate melts and will need to be cooled.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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