For all peanut butter lovers, these Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies are a dream come true. Imagine a cookie that’s not just flavored with peanut butter but also stuffed with peanut butter and caramel, offering a delightful surprise with every bite. These extra-large cookies are the perfect blend of smooth peanut butter and sweet, gooey caramel, sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Baking these cookies always brings joy and excitement, especially when witnessing the perfect combination of peanut butter and caramel coming into life. The process is simple but the result is extraordinary . The cookies are soft, chewy, and packed with flavor, making them an ideal treat for gatherings or a cozy night.

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies on a plate with one broken in half

The Chemistry of Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies

The chemistry of these cookies is fascinating. The combination of baking soda and the acidic components in brown sugar creates a leaving effect, ensuring the cookies rise beautifully. The fats in the peanut butter and butter contribute to the cookie’s tender crumb, while the eggs bind the ingredients together, adding structure.

Can you substitute natural peanut butter in cookie recipes?

Yes, you can substitute natural peanut butter, but the texture will vary slightly. Natural peanut butter often has a different fat content, which will effect the cookie’s consistency.

How do you know when these cookies are perfectly baked?

These cookies take about 9 minutes to bake. They should be lightly golden and still soft in the center. They will continue to set as they cool on the pan.

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies on a plate with one broken in half

Can these cookies be made gluten-free?

Yes, by substituting the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend, you can make these cookies gluten-free. However, ensure the blend is suitable for baking. My favorite gluten-free flour to bake with is Bob’s Red Mill One to One.

How long do these cookies stay fresh?

Store in an airtight container at room temperature, these cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies freshly baked and being served

How to cream your butter & sugar

First, combine your butter & sugar in a standing mixer. Then, turn the mixer on high for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl every 30 seconds. When the mixture is creamed it will be lighter in color and texture. Here is a visual example of how the ingredients look when just combined vs. creamed:

Butter and sugar just combined
Butter and sugar creamed

What is in peanut butter caramel cookies?

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Peanut Butter

Adds another fat into your dough or batter that melts easily, allowing your treat to spread a little more. It will also add a creamy texture & rich flavor to your treat.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Brown Sugar

Is granulated sugar with a little molasses mixed in. Molasses is a somewhat smoky flavored natural sweetener, which makes brown sugar a bit sweeter than granulated sugar. Brown sugar draws more moisture into your treat, keeping it softer for longer. It’s also more acidic, which means it will help activate your baking soda.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Reese’s Caramel Big Cups

Adds a core of caramel and peanut butter, elevating the cookies.

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies on a plate with one broken in half

How to Store

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze the baked cookie for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Making Ahead

The cookie dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight. This deepens the flavors and makes the baking process more convenient.

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies on a plate with one broken in half

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Why make peanut butter caramel cookies?

They are not just a treat; they’re an experience in every bite. Perfect for peanut butter and caramel lovers, they offer a satisfying blend of flavors and textures. Happy baking & enjoy every delicious bite!

Recipes You May Love

Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies

5 from 3 votes
Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 12
Peanut Butter Lovers assemble! These peanut butter caramel cookies are extra big cookies stuffed with peanut butter & caramel.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 12 Reese' Caramel Big Cup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Convection setting is great for cookies!
  • Add butter, peanut butter & sugars to a standing mixer. Mix until combined and then whip for 2-3 minutes until lighter in color & texture
  • Add vanilla and eggs, stir until combined
  • In a separate bowl mix together flour, soda & salt
  • Turn standing mixer on low and slowly pour in the dry ingredients
  • Mix dough just until it comes together
  • Scoop 12 cookies out onto a light metal cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper
  • Press the balls down & set a Reese' Caramel Big Cup on each flattened dough.
  • Scoop another cookie dough ball into your hands, flatten between your hands and cover the Big Cup with the flattened dough. Press the edges of the dough together to fully encased
  • Bake for 9 minutes
  • Let cool on pan for 10 minutes before removing

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcal Carbohydrates: 55g Protein: 9g Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 9g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0.3g Cholesterol: 49mg Sodium: 431mg Potassium: 203mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 36g Vitamin A: 285IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 42mg Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Peanut butter caramel cookies titled