Tiny Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttons

May 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm 83 comments

I absolutely hate these cookies.

First of all, they are addictive. The peanut butter cookie melts in your mouth and has a sugary crunch. They are topped with a whole chocolate chip – white, milk, or bittersweet – to make them bite sized and dangerously irresistible.

Secondly, they are adorable: teeny tiny baby cookies, smaller than a quarter. When I brought them to school, some of my girl friends actually squealed as they held one. “These are so cute!” And they really are as cute as buttons.

Thirdly, they are excellent for any baker’s self esteem. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t fall in love with these cookies. Nothing compares to the warm, happy feeling I get when people reach for their third, fourth, even fifth cookie. They’re so small that no one can stop at one. And it makes me feel good.

And the last reason I hate these cookies? They are a real pain in the butt to make.

Every time I make these cookies, I actually say to myself, “I will never make these again.” The recipe makes 15 dozen little cookies. That’s 180 moments of happiness, 180 cute cookies on the cooling rack, 180 little balls of dough to measure, shape into circles, roll in sugar, and top with a chocolate chip.

Needless to say, I got very, very tired of making Tiny Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttons after about 8 dozen cookies.

Normally I would not even imagine posting such a frustrating recipe. But the results? Magic. I taste the first cookie and immediately eat my words. (Ha, ha, ha.) Every time. And there have been many times. And I know in my heart it won’t be long before I make this recipe again.

I’m sharing it with you now for two reasons. I made them for my friend A-‘s birthday as he is a PB and chocolate fanatic. (He is a good friend through everything and deserves fantastic cookies on his birthday, even if they are annoying to make.) Plus, I discovered that the dough can be frozen! Thank goodness you don’t have to stand there and make 15 dozen cookies in one standing. Phew!

Your last excuse not to try them is gone.

My family was a little amused to see me standing in the kitchen, making cookies for such a long time. I was not. I briefly considered making them bigger, but I knew that would be beside the point. Half of the cookies’ charm is their size. So I continued on. The things you do for friendship!

When I finally couldn’t bear to bake another tray, I caved and wrapped the remaining dough in plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer, planning to finish up the next day. Well, it turns out I didn’t want to roll cookies the next day either. So I used heaping tablespoons and made normal-sized mounds of dough before pressing down with a fork. The result? The best peanut butter cookies ever.

I brought these to school to oohs and ahhs. Hopefully A- enjoyed them as much as I did and had a lovely 17th birthday. Special cookies for an offbeat, original, artistic friend like no other.

A few notes on this recipe:

– The recipe can be halved, but you need to consider that the recipe calls for 1 egg.

– Don’t use your nice organic natural peanut butter on these. Use commercial PB, like Skippy’s.

– I use evaporated cane juice, which is brown. Your cookies might turn out lighter than mine if you use white granulated sugar.

– Don’t put too many cookies on each sheet. You need to press the chocolate chip into the cookie while it is still completely warm, and if there are too many cookies on the sheet they will cool too fast.

– The dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen. I’m not sure how long they’ll last, but I’d guess at least a week. Then take out of the freezer and let come to room temperature.

Tiny Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttons
From Hershey’s Easy Baking
Makes about 15 dozen cookies, depending on size

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Granulated sugar for rolling
Chocolate chips (any type)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat peanut butter and shortening until well mixed, then beat in the two sugars until light. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together, then add in 3 batches to the peanut butter mixture, beating well between additions.

I find that this dough is easier to work with when cold. Consider chilling the dough for 10 minutes or so before baking.

Using a 1/4 tsp, roll dough into 1/2 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 5-6 minutes (5 is best for me) and remove from oven. Immediately press a chocolate chip into the center of each cookie. Let cookies cool a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. [Note: the chocolate chip will be warm and gooey for some time, so be careful before stacking them.]

Alternatively, drop heaped tablespoons of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets and press down gently with the tines of a fork. Do not roll dough or coat with sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden for tasty PB cookies.

The cookies will keep for several days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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83 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kai  |  May 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    wow. 15 dozen. that IS a lot. lol.

    no worries elissa, you have so much more patience than most people to handle this kind of thing. if it was me, i’d be tired after rolling about 5…

    they look amazing! close up in those photos you took, they look even better. =]

  • 2. Sarah  |  May 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe those are tiny chocolate chips – all the pictures make it look like they are hershey chocolate kisses! Wow! The work!!!!

  • 3. Monica h  |  May 19, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    These are super cute. I don’t like PB and chocolate together (gasp!) but I just might make these for my brother :-)

  • 4. Elissa  |  May 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Monica – If you don’t like PB and chocolate, how about hazelnut and chocolate? I think it might be possible to use Nutella instead of peanut butter with this recipe…. hmm! I hope someone tries it!

  • 5. Preston  |  May 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I love peanut butter! The photo where you stacked them all up is amazing.

  • 6. Alana @ The Good Girl Gone Blog  |  May 20, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Girl, you’ve gotta teach me how to take beautiful food photos :) Oh, and I’ve officially moved, so hopefully I’ll be making your cake this weekend!!

  • 7. Jess  |  May 20, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Have you tried a melon baller or a tiny ice cream scoop for the cookies? Might be a little easier on the hands…

  • 8. Eliana  |  May 20, 2009 at 6:38 am

    WOW – these are picture perfect. I’m so impressed by your talent.

  • 9. Valerie  |  May 20, 2009 at 7:05 am

    These are lovely! I’d say your patience has been amply rewarded!

  • 10. Jen  |  May 20, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I can’t get over the sugar grains! Yum! I adore these photos, especially the stacker. I admire your patience ;)

  • 11. bluejeangourmet  |  May 20, 2009 at 8:57 am

    yay! my mom used to make these for bake sales when I was a kid, so they’re giving me a serious case of nostalgia & big-time craving. yours look gorgeous.

  • 12. gratinee  |  May 20, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Wow, these look absolutely delicious. I love peanut butter!
    The pictures are great.

  • 13. Tianne  |  May 20, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    OMG they are so cute!!! I bet you’ve heard that a lot.
    You have way more patience than me. That cookbook looks good, would you reccomend it?

  • 14. Elissa  |  May 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Tianne – Believe it or not this is the only recipe I’ve tried from that cookbook. But it’s a real winner. I would expect Hershey’s to have good chocolate recipes since they are, after all, the huge American chocolate makers. I’ll try a few more out and let you know :)

  • 15. Amanda  |  May 20, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Is it crazy that reading about your frustration over hundreds of tiny cookies just makes me want to make hundreds of tiny cookies? :)

    Great post.

  • 16. Marta  |  May 21, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Great Post Elissa!!!
    I understand the frustration that comes from feeling one’s “baker ego” elevate without control upon feeding loved ones tasty treats! It’s hard to keep one’s humbleness! But I guess that’s the price you pay for being a baker ;) Dirty job, I know!
    These are so cute!! hahaha I think that if I make them, the first few will be tiny, and they’ll get progressively larger as I continue to roll! Maybe you can put Hershey’s kisses int he middle and make them moster-sized! But they’d lose theyr cuteness and the perception of being guilt-free because of their size!
    Great job, I love everythign about this post :)

  • 17. Erin  |  May 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Adorable doesn’t even begin to describe these tiny baked goods! Excellent work Elissa and lovely photos. I admire your patience.

  • 18. foodforhersoul  |  May 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    These look awesome and remind me of those addictive cookies you always get at holiday parties except they look even better! I’m definitely going to make them, thanks so much for sharing. Love your blog and that peanut butter tower picture is too cute :)


  • 19. oneordinaryday  |  May 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    These are darn adorable, but I can see why it’d be a drag to make a full batch!

  • 20. kelly  |  May 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    these are PRECIOUS! it makes me want to throw someone a baby shower.

    i love your blog and i think you are just adorable!

  • 21. foodforhersoul  |  May 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I took you up on your nutella idea. Unfortunately it’s very late here so I’m going to have to take the pictures tomorrow and then I’ll post it on my blog.

  • 22. Cam  |  May 21, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Hi Elissa! I really want to try to make these cookies! I have a question though; in your instructions you say to add “the two sugars” but I only see one type of sugar in the recipe printed. Am I supposed to add something else?

  • 23. foodforhersoul  |  May 21, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Oh yeah I was going to mention that too, the recipe was missing 1/3 cup light brown sugar. I was wondering what two sugars meant too :P

  • 24. melanger  |  May 22, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Want to come to Australia this Christmas to help me with all my holiday baking? I love your patience!

  • 25. Elissa  |  May 22, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Cam – Foodforhersoul is absolutely right, there is 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar along with the 1/3 cup white sugar.

    In my study-weary brain I am getting really really careless. I’m sorry!

  • 26. Elissa  |  May 22, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Foodforhersoul – I am super excited to see how the texture, appearance, and TASTE came out with Nutella! :)

  • 27. Amy  |  May 22, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I have just found your blog and I am so glad I did! My sis is having a birthday soon and these would be just a perfect labor of love!

    Plus, from a person with two little ones, the smaller the cookie the better! I am marking this to make soon!

    Your photography is beautiful..

  • 28. foodforhersoul  |  May 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Hey Elissa, I posted how they came out on my blog. As you’ll find out it wasn’t exactly pretty :P But I found a recipe specifically for using the nutella so that they come out right and they’re delicious so if you’re ever interested in laboring over these cute things again except with nutella then I’ve got the recipe for you. :)

  • 29. Cam  |  May 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the info, Elissa! :) Can’t wait to try them!

  • 30. A-  |  May 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    your friend a- loved them
    c- and e- called them the ultimate “period cookie” as in…it satisfies every craving a girl has during her period…hahaha don’t ask.

  • 31. Marta  |  May 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Elissa! I tried these today! They came out SO great! mind you, like I predicted, mine were the mammoth version of yours. So not delicately cute, but monstrously attractive :)

  • 32. serene  |  May 24, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    hi..i made these over the wkend but why does my cookie cracks & crumbles when i press in the chocolate chip? is my dough too soft? i replace the shortening with half butter & half applesauce…wonder if that’s the cause. i also did refrigerate it before shaping.

    How to get your nice,smooth shape?? thanks!

  • 33. Elissa  |  May 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Serene – Shortening is needed in this recipe rather than butter because it helps hold the dough together. I don’t think you can substitute applesauce in a recipe like this… I think some fat is needed to cream with the sugars.

    If I were you I would try it with shortening. Let me know how it goes!

  • 34. serene  |  May 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    alright…guess i have to buy shortening afterall…because i hardly use so i didnt want to get just a tub…anyway it was a hit among my frens (though not as pretty as yours). guess i’ll go try it again soon…..thanks so much! =)

  • 35. howtoeatacupcake  |  May 25, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Wow those are too freakin cute!

  • 36. Maris  |  May 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Pretty much anything with the word “chocolate chip” is very addicting to me! These look great.

  • 37. hunny  |  May 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I’m obsessed with anything mini. That’s why I was totally inspired by your photos – so inspired that I turned on the oven on a 85 degree day with 100% humidity.

    I used butter instead of shortening and the cookies turned out great. The cookies were soft and so wonderful – they almost melt in your mouth. I started scooping the cookies with a teaspoon, but after the first batch, I realized the scoop was too big. You’d be surprise how small you need to roll them to make the chip look as cute as Elissa’s.

    Serene – your cookies might crumble because you overbaked them. I left a batch in too long and it was hard to get the chips to sink into the cookies. They only take a few minutes to bake and need to be slightly underbaked when you insert in the chocolate chip. And keeping it on the pan to cool for a minute helps the cookie further set.

    All and all, a wonderful recipe! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 38. Sarah  |  May 27, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Hey! I just made these cookies. I didn’t enjoy them as much but they are darn cute! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 39. Jill of Jillicious Desserts  |  May 28, 2009 at 11:14 am

    You always do such an amazing job with your photos!! I’m going to have to try those cookies–they look really yummy!!

  • 40. nutmegnanny  |  May 30, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Those cookies look amazing! I have to try them:) I also love that first picture. You are an amazing photographer.

  • 41. Steve  |  June 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Too time consuming to make…where do I place my order?

  • 42. Marielle Christine  |  June 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

    WOW! These look delicious! peanut butter is my WEAKNESS!
    Definitely trying these!
    Thanks! :)

  • 43. Shannon L  |  June 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    omg these look delicious like tiny versions of my favorite peanut butter blossoms! i think i am going to have to make these.

    would you mind if i featured this recipe on my blog? i will be sure to link to you!

  • 44. Elissa  |  June 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Shannon – it would be an honor to have this recipe on your blog! I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

  • 45. duodishes  |  June 12, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Super picture. We’ll take a dozen!

  • 46. Peanut Butter Kisses « 11th Street  |  June 19, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    […] After the chocolate chip cookies, I wanted to try something with peanut butter. I found this recipe, and I had to try […]

  • 47. Yumi  |  August 9, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Hey~ so I tried making these cookies, and they came out fantastic–even my dad liked them. I wrote a huge post about them and everything, and my friends had a great time eating half of the 15-dozen cookies. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • 48. Thumbprint Minis « 善は急げ  |  October 13, 2009 at 12:47 am

    […] I was inspired to bake after reading through some food blogs to help pass the time. I came across this recipe, which I’d like to re-title “PB+Chocolate Thumbprint Minis” if I may (they sound […]

  • 49. Bianca  |  November 3, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Umm, stupid question: where do I get cute chocolate chips like that? :D

  • 50. efrain  |  December 4, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I made these Tiny Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttons tonight – they’re great. I modified the recipe just a smidgeon to see what would happen – and still lovely. I’m glad I stumbled onto your blog. (I hope to make my own ‘baking blog’ soon too. well, unless I add a baking section to my current, personal website. hmmm)

    Here are a few of the things I’ve baked and of which I’ve taken some basic digicam photos


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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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