These Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Cups are filled with rich chocolate no-bake cheesecake and a full-size peanut butter cup.
Sometimes, getting a recipe right isn’t easy.
There are times when the creation you’ve slaved over turns out perfect: the measurements are right, the baking is flawless, it looks stunning. And then there are other times. (Looking at you, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Cups.)
When I first brainstormed this recipe, I envisioned an indulgent, dark chocolate confection that will surely be a major contributor to diabetes. The high sugar and fat content stayed the same, but the process took two completely failed attempts and vision changes to produce the end result.
Let’s walk through what went wrong.
The first iteration of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Cups started with a cookie base made from my Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies. I was seeking that fudgey, sinful taste and knew I had to use that recipe as my base. But while I love those brownie cookies, their chewy-ness is their undoing: they’re soft and fragile. Baking them as cookie cups and then trying to unmould them from the muffin tin produced an explosion of crumbs EVERYWHERE. Not a single cup survived.
The second time around, I was experimenting with placing the peanut butter cup inside the cookie cups while baking and also right after being pulled out of the oven. Failure. The first ones turned into a slurry of peanut butter and chocolate—not the vision I had—and the second ones took forever to come back to room temperature, way too long to wait for busy people like me and you.
Then, a breakthrough. I thought to myself, What type of cookie crisps up enough to be taken out of muffin tins intact while still being soft and chewy? The answer was clear: refrigerated cookie dough from the grocery store.
“It’s a cop out!” you may cry, throwing a spatula at your computer screen. Not really. In fact, it just makes the recipe for these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Cups 10x easier while being just as delicious.
After picking up some cookie dough from the grocery store, excitedly waving the thick Pillsbury baton like a prize, I baked the cookie cups, threw in the peanut butter cups after cooling, and finally—triumphantly—piped in the no-bake chocolate cheesecake batter.
Perfection. Well, close.
Today’s takeaway: Sometimes, getting a recipe right isn’t easy. But on the plus side, you get to eat your failures. 😉
Check out CK on Instagram! If you try out one of my recipes, tag @CrumbKitchen so I can see your delicious creations. 🙂
Total Cost = $9.60 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- 1 pkg. store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough*
- 12 full-sized peanut butter cups**
- 4 oz. dark chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 eight oz. pkg. of full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
- 6 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. full-fat milk
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cups crushed peanuts***
- Begin by placing the 4 oz. of dark chocolate from the cheesecake filling in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave on medium heat in 25 seconds increments, stirring in between, until almost fully melted. Remove from microwave and stir until all the small chunks have melted; set aside to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 12-cup regular-size muffin tin; set aside.
- With a knife, cut the package of cookie dough into 12 even slices. Press each slice into the bottom of the muffin tin and gently work the dough up the sides slightly, being sure to keep a relatively even, thick layer of dough throughout. (It will NOT stretch to cover the entire cup.)
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and centre is mostly set. With a small spoon, gently press the inside bottoms of the cookie cups to flatten slightly. Let sit in the muffin tin until fully cool, about 30-45 minutes. While the cookies are setting, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Unwrap each peanut butter cup and set aside on a plate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk and vanilla on high speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl periodically.
- Stop the mixer and pour in the cooled melted chocolate. Continue beating on medium speed for 1 minute, or until fully combined and fluffy.
- If the mixture is very soft, place bowl in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. If not, leave at room temperature until the cookie cups have cooled.
- Using a dull knife, gently loosen the cooled cookie cups from the tin and lift onto a plate.
- Place a small dab of cheesecake filling on the bottom of the inside of the cups, then place a peanut butter cup inside and press down gently to stick.
- Scoop cheesecake filling into a Ziploc freezer bag or pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 1M star tip and pipe inside the cheesecake cups in a swirl. (If your cheesecake filling is too cold from the fridge, leave it out for a few minutes or warm the bag with your hands.)
- Top with crushed peanuts and serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 12 hours and serve.
** I used Reese's peanut butter cups.
*** I bought unsalted shelled peanuts and crushed them with a soup can.
Cheesecake filling adapted from Nestlé. Crumb Kitchen original concept.
1 pkg. store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough = $2.00
12 full-sized peanut butter cups = $3.50
4 oz. dark chocolate = $1.50
1 eight oz. pkg. of full-fat cream cheese = $2.00
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter = $0.12
6 tbsp. packed brown sugar = $0.09
2 tbsp. granulated sugar = $0.04
1 tbsp. full-fat milk = $0.02
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract = $0.03
1/4 cups crushed peanuts = $0.30
Why it’s Cheap
Clocking in at just under my $10 limit, these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups are more expensive than most of my recipes due to the cream cheese and refrigerated cookie dough. But, consider this: You can buy a blah-looking cheesecake from the freezer of your local grocery store for $8-15 and no one will really care. But if you show up to a party with these little cups of joy, everyone will love you. In this case, do the work and for the same price, you’ll have a great topic of conversation and end to any meal.
Make it More Budget-Friendly
Feel free to skip the crushed peanuts for the topping and substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for the dark chocolate. If you’re going to use semi-sweet, I’d reduce the granulated sugar to 1.5 tablespoons to compensate.