Peanut Butter Molasses Cookies






Mary Janes were among my favorite penny candy, along with Bit O’ Honey and Tootsie Rolls.  The corner store in my neighborhood, which closed in my early teens, had shelves of penny candy and small paper bags that eager children could fill to their heart’s delight.

These cookies are modeled on the Mary Jane, featuring peanut butter, molasses, and dark brown sugar.  While you could certainly use light brown sugar, dark brown sugar has a higher quantity of molasses in it and will yield a richer flavor; you could also use crunchy, rather than smooth, peanut butter for another dimension of texture.


  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 2 eggs
  • About 1 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped


In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together dark brown sugar, butter, shortening, peanut butter, and molasses until very well combined and fluffy, about two minutes.

Add eggs and beat well, about two minutes.

Add one-half of the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until combined.

Cover and chill dough at least one hour or until firm and easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with foil and spray very lightly with cooking spray. (Note: I do not re-spray sheets after they have baked, as I find that there is enough residual spray left on the sheets so the cookies do not stick.)

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop very generous portions of dough and roll into balls; dip one-half of each ball in chopped peanuts, pressing lightly to embed the nuts in the dough.

Place on the baking sheet about two inches apart and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven; cool cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for two to three minutes, then remove cookies and cool completely on another rack.

Peanut Butter Cookies

My mom Genny will be the first to admit that she’s not Betty Crocker.  She certainly bakes with Betty’s help though, employing boxed mixes or pouches that require only an addition of eggs and water to produce whatever cookie, cake, or treat she wishes to make.

Genny’s recipe for peanut butter cookies involves a box of yellow cake mix, peanut butter, a few eggs, and probably some oil.  I’m not sure where she got this recipe, or why cake mix is involved, but it turns out a pretty tasty cookie.  Especially when a Hershey’s Kiss is plopped in the middle.

The recipe below yields a classic homemade peanut butter cookie and isn’t meant for the Hershey’s Kiss; that recipe requires a slightly sturdier dough made with shortening and a different quantity of flour.  If you want to get creative with this recipe, try pressing some milk chocolate chips into the tops of these cookies when they are right out of the oven.


  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter and peanut butter; beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder; beat until combined.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add flour and beat until combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls, then roll in granulated sugar.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, then press a crisscross pattern into the top of each cookie with a fork.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just golden brown. The centers of the cookies should still be puffy and look somewhat raw; that’s okay, as they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the baking sheets.

Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies






The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania boasts a proud history.  America’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence here.  President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address here.  Steelworkers forged the materials that built much of America here.  And in 1923, H.B. Reese invented a most outstanding confection, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, right here in Hershey, PA.

Similar to the peanut butter blossom, that Christmastime favorite peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey’s Kiss, the peanut butter cup cookie is a peanut butter dough baked in a mini muffin tin, then pressed with a miniature peanut butter cup.  I first heard of this cookie a while back, but only started baking them in the past few years.  They are highly popular – a favorite among family and friends – so make sure you save a few for yourself.


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large bag Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line two 24- cup mini muffin tins with paper liners.

Unwrap 48 peanut butter cups and place in a bowl in the refrigerator, to keep cool while dough is baking.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In another small bowl, combine sugars; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter together until combined.

Add sugars and cream until combined.

Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Add flour mixture and beat until combined; your dough should be soft, but easy to roll into balls.

Roll dough into small balls, less than one inch in size, and place in lined muffin tins.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until puffy and light golden brown.

Remove from oven and immediately press one peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie.

Cool completely in tins, away from the oven so the chocolate can set.