These yummy peanut butter cookies house a surprise Nutella filling inside. A combo of two great things! What’s not to love?
I’m baaaaack! And what better way to announce my earnest return to the blogosphere than with a Nutella-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies recipe feature? I’m going to tell you a little tidbit of what I’ve been going through the past few months because I feel like letting it out on this space will help me close the book on it with finality, but if you’re not keen on reading about all the drama, feel free to scroll down to the recipe. 🙂
Well, it’s been a great struggle for me the past few months. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most of the stuff I’ve been writing here back then were half-heartedly stitched together. (If I was posting anything at all lol.) It makes me feel sad when I look back on them. As a person who always tries to pour a bit of passion and heart into everything I do, I could tell at a glance that I wasn’t in my element at all. For a moment I had lost my sense of self. I felt so uninspired in everything that I did, and I could not understand what was happening.
To make a long story short, the past few months were a roller coaster ride for me. My mind and my feelings were shaken; confused to the point where I didn’t have time to sit down and feel alarm at my detachment from all the things that made me, well, me. I didn’t have the energy or desire to do the things that made me feel truly happy, because I was forcing a different idea of happy upon myself according to what the people around me were telling me.
You know how sometimes people tend to presume things about your own thoughts and feelings like they know it better than you; and they are so convincing in their statements that you start thinking along their line of thought? I think that’s what happened to me. I started considering other people’s opinions over my own, and it’s clear to me now that I was having some unconscious inner rebellion because of it. In the end, I can’t really blame anyone but myself here because I had allowed them to cloud my judgment and CHANGE ME. I was trying so hard to fit into their mold when what I truly wanted was different. And thankfully, I realize that now.
I mean, I’m not mad at anyone here. I still trust and love the good intentions of these people involved in my erstwhile inner turmoil. But I will never let anyone else dictate how I should think and feel again, and I’m not sorry to say this. For someone like me who has a strong personality, to lose my sense of self is more terrifying than burning bridges. There’s that.
The good news is, I can now confidently say my mind and heart are right where they need to be. It’s a good thing I managed to sort things out for myself right before I went on holiday in Japan. I probably would’ve missed finding meaning in a lot of amazing moments had I went there still stuck in a funk. I’m excited to share my travel diaries with you all soon, but first, let us talk about these glorious Nutella-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies.
I have to admit, I don’t know if my instructions for the recipe are leaning towards complicating it, but I wanted to be as clear as possible. It’s actually quite simple if you take a look at my process photos. The first step is to freeze 26 mounds of Nutella so they’re not difficult to handle as a cookie filling. If you’re in a rush, you can probably skip this step since I have successfully stuffed cookies before without freezing the Nutella, and it didn’t turn into a big mess.
Once your Nutella is ready, it’s time to make the peanut butter cookies. I love peanut butter and I love cookies so it’s only natural that peanut butter crisscrosses are some of my favorite cookies as well. I love them with bits of nuts inside the most, but we’re just using smooth peanut butter here to avoid any cracks and crevices from forming on your cookies as they bake. You want the Nutella to stay inside in this case.
The dough is really quite straightforward to make, and the result is something that’s super easy to handle. At this point, you just shape the dough into 26 balls and start adding the Nutella into the center. I like to make indentations in my dough rounds to place my filling in. It’s easier to close the dough up and seal the filling this way. The original recipe has you dividing the dough in two and pushing the filling in the middle. You can only do this with frozen Nutella though.
I like to bake my cookies one tray at a time, so I always finish up one tray first and get it into the oven. That way, I get ample time to finish my second tray while the first batch bakes. I baked these cookies in 3 batches because I could only fit 9 cookies per tray at a time. You need to space the dough at least 2 inches apart because they do spread while baking. You can actually make your own system of how you want to bake these (whether one or two trays at a time), but I shared how I did it in the instructions below.
Once all the balls have been filled and set upon the baking sheet, my favorite part comes next. Take out a fork and squish that dough ball down. Not too much though! Just enough to carve out the crisscross pattern on top. This also helps it to spread out more evenly.
And because being extra pays off sometimes, a sprinkling of sea salt comes next. Give the salt a little push to stick them on top of the cookies. Ever since I discovered the effect of sea salt on baked goods, I started putting them on everything. Aren’t these cookies super cute?! Even though these cookies spread quite a bit once baked, the crisscross patterns will remain.
[READ ALSO: Peanut Butter Crisscrosses Recipe]
The Nutella is supposed to be oozing out of the cookies when you bite into them, but because I actually used some old Nutella that’s gone clumpy at the bottom, my filling doesn’t flow like it should. It almost seems like a soft candy in there. It may not have the same effect as yours probably will, but the taste is the same so I am really happy with it nonetheless. Do make sure you use a fairly new bottle. I recommend using the top portion of the Nutella.
Nutella-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3/4 cup 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1. Scoop out 26 teaspoon-sized portions of Nutella onto a medium parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour or more, until solid.
- 2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- 3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. (You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer for this, beating for 1 to 2 minutes.) Beat in the peanut butter until fully combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla until the batter is smooth.
- 4. Switching to a spatula, mix in the flour mixture until fully combined. (Do this step on low speed with an electric mixer.) The dough should come together and be easy to handle.
- 5. Using a tablespoon to measure, scoop out about 2-tablespoon-sized balls of dough. At this point you can just place the dough balls anywhere on one of your baking sheets in preparation for filling. Once you've portioned out all 26 balls, take out your tray of Nutella from the freezer.
- 6. Take your first peanut butter dough ball, then create a deep indent down the middle. Place one piece of frozen Nutella in the center and close the dough over it. Make sure the Nutella is sealed inside the cookie dough. Place your filled dough onto your other lined baking sheet then repeat the process. Space each filled ball of dough at least 2 inches apart to give them space to spread.
- 7. Once your first baking tray is filled, go ahead and bake this first before you work on your next tray. (I managed to fit 9 cookies per sheet so I had to bake this recipe in three batches.) Use a fork to slightly flatten the dough and make crisscross patterns on top. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt, gently pushing them onto the surface of the cookies to adhere.
- 8. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (Once your first tray finishes baking, you probably would have finished working on your second tray of cookies.)
- 9. Serve with a tall glass of cold milk. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.