These Milk Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies are an easy slice and bake chocolate chip cookie and a to-die-for combination of peanut butter, chocolate chips, and shortbread!
Shortbread is Scottish in origin, and in its classic form it’s a super simple dough made by rubbing butter and sugar into flour.
For all its humble farmhouse origins, shortbread has a deliciously addictive melt in your mouth texture that is unmatched in the baking world.
In fact the flavor of plain shortbread is wonderful because you actually taste the butter and flour themselves, and it’s a wonderful recipe to know because you almost always have the ingredients on hand to make up a batch.
Shortbread and shortbread cookies are by nature crumbly and delicate. You can roll out shortbread dough for cut out cookies, you can pat it into a pan or a cast iron skillet, or you can form the dough into a log to slice and bake. Certain kinds of shortbread dough can be pressed into intricate molds. Shortbread is unlike most cookies in that it contains no added liquids or eggs. It keeps its shape while baking., and it bakes at a low temperature so it doesn’t brown.
Since there are no eggs in this cookie dough, so go ahead, taste away!
I’ve made lots of shortbread variations, both sweet and savory. You can check them out in the links at the end of this post. I particularly like the way the flavor of shortbread works with chocolate, so many of my cookies involve it in some way or another.
One of my most viewed posts on the blog is my PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD COOKIES, so I thought it would be fun to revisit and revamp the recipe with milk chocolate.
My original cookies were formulated to be slice and bake, but for these I went for a sleeker look. I chilled the dough in a disk, like pie dough, and then rolled it to about 1/3 inch thickness and cut it out with a cookie cutter. You can see that even the tiny fluted edges of my cookie cutter held their shape after baking.
Shortbread dough requires that you really work in the soft butter and sugar into the flour. The butter must be truly soft. Since there are no added liquids, the moisture of the butter is what holds the dough together. It will start out dry and crumbly, but eventually the butter, sugar and flour become one dough. It helps to get right in there with your hands to finish the process. Keep in mind that any shortbread can always be patted into a pan and cooked that way. It helps to cut the shortbread into squares while it is still warm.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (make sure it is completely soft)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (yes, you can use chunky)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (yes, you can use regular sugar)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (you can use mini chips if you like)
- Set oven to 350F
- Cream the butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly combined. Beat in the vanilla.
- Sift the sugar, flour and salt together and then add to the butter mixture. Mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry and crumbly. A stand mixer helps with this job.
- Add the chocolate chips in towards the end of mixing and distribute evenly.
- Turn the dough out onto a board and continue to work it with your hands until it comes together like a pie dough. Divide it in two equal parts, and shape them into flat disks. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired thickness. I rolled mine to about 1/4-1/3 inch.
- Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 13-15 minutes. They will soft and white even when done, but will firm up as they cool.
- Let the cookies rest on the hot cookie sheet for a minute or two, and then transfer carefully to a cooling rack.