Big, Soft Baked Peanut Butter M&M Cookies are a cookie lover’s dream! Classic soft peanut butter cookies combine with chocolate candies in a perfect, jumbo sized cookie that stays super soft with a candy crunch in every bite!
It’s back-to-school time and I’m thinking a parenting best practice and back-to-school tradition is to have milk & cookies ready and waiting when my 1st grader walks in the door at the end of her first day. Particularly these big, soft baked peanut butter M&M cookies that are one of her all-time favorites. These really are the best peanut butter cookies ever!
There are so many traditions surrounding the start of a new school year that I love. Shopping for school supplies, picking out that all-important first day of school outfit, taking a picture in front of the front door, meeting the new teacher, etc. But one of my favorite memories from growing up was coming home to fresh baked cookies after school.
I’m hoping to instill in both my girls a similar love of school and all the things that go with a new academic year and fresh start. That quote from the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic, “You’ve Got Mail” about the bouquet of newly sharpened pencils speaks to my soul, especially this time of year, and I would love for my children to feel the same as they grow up. I’m thinking these big, soft baked peanut butter M&M cookies can only help create the positive memories that I want them to associate with a new school year.
I have to give credit for these cookies to my sister, Jennie, and Mel from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. A couple of years ago, I was at my sister’s house when she offered me a peanut butter M&M cookie from a container on her counter. Jennie loves peanut butter treats but almost never has them in her house because 2 of her 5 girls have pretty severe nut allergies. So as her older sister, it was basically my responsibility to help her finish off all of those cookies.
And then I demanded the recipe so I could make more at home. It’s a good thing we’re the kind of sisters who share.
Jennie told me she saw the recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, which has been one our favorite recipe blogs for years, so I wasn’t a bit surprised that I loved her peanut butter cookie recipe. These are the best chewy peanut butter cookies ever and they are so soft and wonderful! But my sister had taken them a step further and added M&M’s to just the tops of the cookies, and it was genius.
So while I definitely can’t take credit for these big, soft baked peanut butter M&M cookies, I had to share them with you! Just remember, you definitely need a glass of milk with these ones!
And speaking of milk, how cute is my little red milk pitcher?! I have to give a shout out to my friend Kathy at Lemon Blossoms blog who sent me this darling little red pitcher last year after I commented on how much I loved it when she posted a photo with it on her blog! Kathy & I started our blogs around the same time and are part of a small blogging mastermind group together. I remember when starting my blog hearing about the support and friendship that exists in the food blogging community and have come to realize how true it is thanks to friends like Kathy!
These big, soft peanut butter M&M cookies are also great for holidays because you can easily swap in holiday colored M&M’s for the traditional colors and have an easy Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or 4th of July treat!
To make these nice and big, I use this ice cream scoop instead of a smaller cookie scoop. Using an ice cream scoop makes forming your cookies super easy, gives consistent results, and I like the texture across the top of each cookie that they get from being scooped with a release lever onto the baking sheet. But you can also use a 1/4 cup measuring cup instead (which is the same size as my ice cream scoop) or just eyeball it.
You could also roll each cookie into balls to create a smooth finish on your cookie, if you like. Or make them smaller and roll in sugar, then press down lightly with a fork to make a criss-cross grid pattern like traditional peanut butter cookies. I’ve done them each way and included a few extra ideas that I’ve tried in the recipe notes below.
What cookies would you make for your school-aged children for the first day of school? Definitely give these soft peanut butter cookies a try! Or you can’t go wrong with Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but some of my other favorite options are White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies or these Double Lemon Glazed Cookies. Let me know what you are making in the comments below!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk chocolate M&M's
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the peanut butter and softened butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 minutes, until light.
Scrape the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula and add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat for another 1-2 minutes, until light, scraping the sides of the bowl with your spatula as needed.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well, until everything is completely combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then mix until combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure the cookie dough doesn't have any streaks of unincorporated ingredients, but taking care not to overmix the dough.
Scoop onto the parchment lined baking sheet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop. Press a handful of M&M's into the top of each cookie - enough so that there will be M&M's in each bite of cookie after baking.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, until set but be sure not to overbake. The cookies will continue to set and firm up slightly as they cool even though they may look slightly underbaked straight from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I actually prefer to not mix the M&M's into these cookies but only use them to decorate the tops. But you could increase your total mix-ins to 2 cups of M&M's or milk chocolate chips or a combination of the two and stir most of them into the batter before scooping, reserving some to press into the tops of the cookies, if you prefer. If making smaller cookies, decrease your baking time to 10-11 minutes.
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