Peanut Butter Blossoms are a classic holiday treat and a favorite of cookie lovers of all ages! Sweet, chewy peanut butter cookies meet a crunchy coating of sugar before baking, crowned with a milk chocolate “blossom” while they’re warm. The perfect peanut butter-chocolate indulgence!
Peanut Butter Blossoms: A Childhood Favorite
Peanut Butter Blossoms have been a part of our Christmas cookie trays since I was a little girl. Sweet, chewy, and chocolatey, they were always the first cookies I reached for when my mother made them.
They were also the cookies I had the most fun helping her make. What kid (or adult, for that matter) wouldn’t love to have the very important job of pressing Hershey’s kisses into warm cookie centers (and sneaking a few kisses on the side for herself)?
History of the Peanut Blossom Cookie
The original Peanut Blossoms were the creation of a Mrs. Freda F. Smith from Gibsonburg, Ohio. She developed the recipe for the Grand National Pillsbury Bake-Off® contest in 1957.
While the cookie has since become a classic in the American baking repertoire, it actually didn’t win the competition that year! Mrs. Smith’s Peanut Blossoms were one of the top 100 finalists, while Gerda Roderer’s “Accordion Treats” took the Grand Prize.
Fun Fact: Did you know that you can get the recipes for all of the Pillsbury Bake Off® Grand Prize winners, all the way back to the start of the competition in 1949? Check out the list on the Pillsbury Website!
Over the years, my mom and I made a few changes to Mrs. Smith’s original recipe that have become a tradition for our family. Here’s how we make them.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The cookie base for Peanut Butter Blossoms mostly utilizes baking staples: all-purpose flour, granulated and brown sugars, baking soda, salt, egg, vanilla extract, and milk.
Mrs. Smith’s original recipe uses 1/2 cup of solid shortening as the fat, plus 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. For flavor, we love to use butter in our cookies, so we made the substitution in a 1:1 swap.
Since butter contains water and shortening is entirely fat, we upped the peanut butter quantity slightly to 3/4 cup to make up for the difference. This also gives the cookies a more prominent peanut flavor, which our family loves.
What Kind of Peanut Butter Should I Use?
I’ve tested the recipe with different types of peanut butter over the years, and commercial peanut butter produces the best texture. It’s best to steer clear of natural peanut butters that separate at room temperature (i.e. the jars that need to be stirred regularly).
My family and I like these cookies best with smooth peanut butter. It makes a soft cookie with a delectably chewy bite. If you like bits of peanut in the cookie, you can absolutely use a “crunchy” variety instead of “creamy.”
The Chocolate Blosssom
The “Blossom” part of the recipe is traditionally a milk chocolate Hershey’s Kiss. The chocolate is pressed into the hot cookie immediately after coming out of the oven so it melts slightly and adheres as it cools.
To vary the look and flavor, you can use different types of chocolate candy in place of the kisses. Some of our favorite variations are:
- Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups
- Brach’s milk chocolate stars
- Dove Promises milk chocolate candy hearts (for Valentine’s day)
If you wanted to skip the candy route entirely, you could also bake this recipe as a thumbprint cookie and fill the indentations with chocolate ganache or melted chocolate chips.
Tips for Making Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Mixing. I like to mix the cookies in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. If your attachment doesn’t have a built in scraper, be sure to scrape the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula when mixing so all of the butter and peanut butter gets incorporated.
You can also make this recipe in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer.
- Chilling. Since butter cookies tend to spread a bit more than shortening-based cookies, I like to chill the dough for about an hour before scooping them out and rolling them in sugar.
I use a small cookie scoop to portion the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls.
- Baking Prep. For the best results, bake the cookies one sheet at a time. Have the chocolates unwrapped and ready to go for when the cookies come out of the oven.
The optimal window for pressing the kisses into the warm cookies is short. You don’t want to first start unwrapping the chocolate when the cookies are baked, or commit to having to assemble all (almost) 4-dozen at once.
(Of course, if you have helpers, or are really speedy at pressing kisses, go for it in one bake!)
- For a classic, chewy texture, don’t over-bake the cookies. They should be just lightly browned and starting to crack. Baking them for too long will dry the cookies out and cause them to split too much when you add the chocolate kiss.
How to Store Peanut Butter Blossoms
It’s very important to let the cookies cool entirely and allow the chocolate kiss to re-solidify before storing these cookies. We love to eat them while they’re warm and the chocolate is melty, but they’ll be an absolute mess if you try to store them this way.
Once they’ve cooled completely and the chocolate is firm (at least an hour), I like to store my Peanut Blossoms in an airtight cookie tin, separated by layers of wax paper or parchment. They’ll stay fresh and chewy for up to 5 days.
Tip: Peanut Butter Blossoms make a great holiday gift, even across the miles! Don’t miss my guide for How to Ship Cookies to make sure your cookies arrive intact.
Can you Freeze Peanut Butter Blossoms?
Absolutely! These cookies freeze very well in an airtight container for 2-3 months. I like to defrost them at room temperature.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
- 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , room temperature (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar , plus an extra 1/4 cup for rolling
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar , lightly-packed
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (not "natural" peanut butter)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 40 to 42 milk chocolate kisses , unwrapped
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Cream the butter with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl. Beat in milk and vanilla, followed by the egg, until combined.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until a stiff dough forms. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Scoop the dough into 1-1/4 inch portions (40-42 portions), roll them into balls, and then roll them in the granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes, until set, lightly brown, and just starting to crack. Don't overbake.
- As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, gently press a Hershey's kiss into each center. (The cookies will crack – this is normal and part of their classic appearance.) After about 5 minutes, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, at least an hour. (The chocolate should be firm before the cookies are stored.)
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-5 days, or freeze for 2-3 months.