Magic in the Middles

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Reminiscent of a chocolate peanut butter cup candy (or a buckeye, if you're into homemade candies), this recipe is one that's been making the rounds for years. We guarantee these will disappear in a snap, whatever the audience: from hungry kids after a soccer game, to your co-workers gathered around the office coffeepot!

45 mins
7 to 9 mins
55 mins
26 filled cookies
Magic in the Middles


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

  2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

  3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine.

  4. Stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

  5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth.

  6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 small (1") balls.

  7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger, and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.

  8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together to cover the center. Roll the cookie in the palms of your hands to smooth it out.

  9. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

  10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between cookies.

  11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2" thick.

  12. To bake the cookies: Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

  13. Storage information: Store leftover cookies, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • The most reliable way to make sure you have equal amounts of filling and chocolate dough is to use a cookie scoop. Our teaspoon scoop yields exactly 26 fillings when scooped with the dough level across the top. Our tablespoon scoop when filled level will yield exactly 26 chocolate blobs of dough to match.

  • If you're doubling this recipe, add an extra egg to the chocolate dough.
  • If you're making this dough ahead of time, add an 2 tablespoons of milk to the chocolate dough. It tends to dry out as it sits, and the extra moisture will keep the outside dough from cracking as you form the cookies.