Magic in the Middle

I am due to have a baby any day. My fourth, actually. Fourth boy to be exact. (UPDATE: this was posted almost eight years ago…so no, I’m not pregnant or about to deliver these days, but it’s kind of insane to think I was blogging way back then.)

Because of this and the amount of recipes I have to share with you, I’ve been torn about whether to rush and post them all now or spread them out to be posted after I have the baby, since I know not much cooking and baking will be done for a while once this baby arrives.

I haven’t quite decided what to do but I have a feeling I’ll be posting more frequently for the next couple days in order to get the word out about some amazing recipes, because I’m not sure I’ll have much time to even post for a while after the baby arrives.

In honor of that goal, here is a fabulous cookie recipe I have had bookmarked from King Arthur Flour for a while now.

I made these a few months ago, and they were phenomenal.

I love the chocolate peanut butter combo and the cookies came out perfectly soft with a yummy, warm peanut butter center. This has definitely made it on my favorite cookie list!

Magic in the Middle Cookies

Magic in the Middle Cookies


    Chocolate Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)
  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 ) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • Peanut butter filling:
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375Β°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.
  3. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
  4. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.
  5. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Recipe Source: from King Arthur Flour Blog

62 Responses to Magic in the Middle Cookies

  1. Jennie P says:

    Thank you for this recipe! I’m not the greatest baker so I’m always a little leary of trying just any ol recipe off the internet. But knowing how much time and tweaking you put into these recipes I know I can always trust your recipes. I can’t wait to bring these to my family’s dinner tomorrow. They are so delicious! I’m also bringin the twister cookies. Your recipe was perfect. Thank you for the weight measurements. I’m not good at scooping flour so weights save me. Yes another of your recipe heading into my favortex binder. Most of them are your recipes already!!

  2. Grace says:

    One word…. AMAZING!! Thank you so much for your recipes…they have all been amazing. People actually think I’m a good baker/cook now! I’ve pointed them all to your website. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing!

  3. […] Recipe from […]

  4. Dena says:

    Oh. My. Word. Thank you Mel. Thank you.

  5. […] Half magic was tricky for the children. Even though these cookies are half one thing and half another, they won’t be tricky at all! Make Magic in the Middle Cookies. […]

  6. Shannon says:

    I love these cookies. I included them as an activity in my post for a book called “Half Magic” by Edward Eager, ( a book I think your boys might enjoy. I’m sure everyone who tries this recipe will enjoy it!

  7. Jnl2211 says:

    I made these tonight, followed the recipe exactly (using weight amounts) and the dough was perfect. Anyway, as good as they were the “normal” way, I ended up making all but one batch with chocolate chips (about 5) added With the peanut butter filling. I liked it much better that way. Thanks for another good recipe!

  8. Shannon says:

    This is the recipe that brought me to your website more than a year ago. I’m so glad! I love your recipes, your philosophy, and even the way your website looks (I kind of miss the orange dots–I really liked that version too.) Anyway, I made these for a friend’s birthday back then with great success. I just sent them to my son in Guatemala for Christmas and they were a hit again and even stayed fresh on the long trip! Thank you for all your work!

  9. zeka says:

    I just made these, they are delicious. Just a note, I’m really uncoordinated so when it came to filling the cookies, instead of making an indent in the chocolate dough, I split each ball in half and flattened them, placed the peanut butter ball in the middle and just crimped the edges before rolling it back into a ball. (I explained the horribly, didn’t I?) It was much like making a Pirozkhi or dumpling, I found this method easier, but maybe because I have a lot of experience in making dumplings.

  10. […] Recipe from […]

  11. […] via Veronica on […]

  12. Megan says:

    These are awesome. I made them a few years ago and decided they needed to be made for our trip this weekend. I do have a tip….don’t use natural peanut butter. I saw on the king Arthur blog that they won’t work well…and I remember when I made them a few years ago, they spread a lot. My cookies cracked on the sides which my husband likes, but I will try cutting back on the flour next time, or adding a little milk like the KA flour blog said. Thanks again for another winner, Mel. Congrats a couple of years ago on that new baby too!

  13. […] on the last day of school. I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website, and also over at My Kitchen Cafe. It looked fabulous, so I decided to give it a try. Oh. My. Goodness. I love chocolate and peanut […]

  14. Bianca says:

    I love your recipes! I have two quick questions, do you think I can substitute the peanut butter for nutella? Would I be able to freeze them after they’ve been stuffed and rolled smooth? I would like to make these for a cookie exchange for my job next Wednesday, and have a really busy schedule. I’m thinking that preparing them ahead might work.

    • Mel says:

      Bianca – I think nutella would be delicious with these cookies. The only thing I don’t know is how nutella “melts” or bakes up in the oven. I’ve never prepared them ahead but don’t see why that wouldn’t work – just bake them from frozen and add a few minutes to the baking time. Good luck!

  15. Kimiko says:

    I JUST made these and took these out of the oven..and I had to try one right away! These are so GOOD! I love the “surprise” center…I can’t wait til my boyfriend comes home from work so I can surprise him with these. (He is a big peanut butter-chocolate lover, so I’m sure he will be thrilled when he discovers the peanut butter in the middle!) Thanks for the recipe, I will definitely keep this one!

  16. SJ says:

    These were a HUGE hit. Thanks so much for the recipe. It took a little longer than most cookies, but wow, were they worth it!

  17. kimberly says:

    i finally made these last night. what do you know? they were awesome!! πŸ™‚ i knew they would be! couldn’t put off the weight gain any longer and HAD to try them. πŸ˜€

  18. Cookteen says:

    Yummy! I made these for my Physics class in the beginning of the year and they were a hit! check it out:

    With love and cupcakes,

    • Mel says:

      Cookteen – thanks for giving me the link to your blog! I’m so glad you liked these cookies and I’d say your classmates should be singing your praises. Heaven knows no one was making cookies in my high school physics class!

  19. Jennika says:

    These are what they claim! Pure MAGIC!!! My neice and I made them about a month ago for out sleepover. The first time they probably took more time then we had thought to make, but once we bit into one, we both looked at eachother and said MAGIC!!! We have made them three other times since then. The third being yesterday and then today she snuck into my house to have one after school and …so we had to make them again because I don’t know where the others could have gone! πŸ™‚ I do have a two and a four year old at home, but… They probably ate 2.

    When we have made them we get a little over 40 cookies. No I didn’t have 38, but pretty close. tee hee πŸ™‚

    Thanks for all the great recipes. I can’t what to see what you have next

    • Mel says:

      Jennika – well, I’m glad I’m not the only mother who somehow realizes the entire batch of cookies is gone, when the kids only had one each. Ooops! I’m so happy that you and your niece love these cookies so much. They are definitely some of my favorites, too!

  20. Lindsey says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made them today and they were excellent!

  21. Making these tonight. thanks! πŸ™‚

  22. Melanie says:

    Melanie S. – glad you liked these (and especially glad you have such a great name!).

  23. Anonymous says:

    One word–YUM!!! A new family favorite. Thanks for posting these–Melanie S.

  24. megan says:

    Hey Melanie, just wanted to let you know I finally got a chance to post these cookies on my blog. Plus wanted to let you know that people I gave them to LOVED them – rave reviews. So thanks!

  25. Melanie says:

    Hi Megan – thanks for checking in on these cookies. I need to make them again based on your rave reviews!! They are some of my favorites. I’m glad they worked out well for you.

  26. Jonelle Hughes says:

    These look great! I am due to have my 5th baby any day also!!! Wonderful birthing vibes to you my best recipe friend! I have used so many of your recipes to create a freezer full of meals to use after this baby is born! I just love you and your recipes and am so grateful to this site! I can’t wait to hear about your baby!!!Love- Jonelle

  27. Jared and Katie Organ says:

    WOW! These look so stinkin good! I just made the vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls and they were amazing! So I’m sure these are going to be great as well. Good luck with your new bundle of joy! I would love to have all boys. I have two so far. Anyways thanks for the recipes and make sure to take advantage of your time off. SLEEP! hehe

  28. Emily says:

    The second time I made these I cut way back on the flour (down to just over 1 cup) and was much happier with how soft the dough was- it was a lot easier to add the filling with the softer dough. Thanks again for the fun recipe.

  29. Patsyk says:

    Love those cookies!Congratulations on adding another boy to your family!

  30. Crazy Lady says:

    these look so yummy. i found your website from taste and tell. tonite i made the bourbon chicken, and yesterday i made the broccoli cheese soup with the bread bowl recipes. my 5 year old was raving about it. you have a solid recommendation. thanks. good luck with the new baby. a fan in California

  31. Melanie says:

    Liana – it is always a plus if your kids enjoy helping out. My boys liked rolling these out, too. Glad these worked out!

  32. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    These look so yummy-thanks for posting. I hope all goes well with the birth of your new little bundle of boy!!!

  33. Melanie says:

    Emily – good tip on cutting down on the flour if it makes for a softer dough. I’ve often wondered how humidity and dry climates affect the amount of flour needed, too. Thanks for letting me know!

  34. PheMom says:

    Mel! You’re my hero! I have been trying to find a good recipe with the chocolate / pb combo to send to my brother in Iraq that wasn’t just chocolate chips or something. He will love these!I really hope you are feeling well. I think of you often and hope that everything goes well from here. Hugs & Happy New Year!Holly

  35. Liz says:

    I don’t think there has ever been a more perfect combination than peanut butter and chocolate! These look fantastic! Good luck with your new arrival! What an exciting time for you! If you take a break from posting it will give me a chance to make some of the things I haven’t gotten around to making. So don’t worry and take some time for yourself and your new baby!

  36. Melanie says:

    Crazy Lady – (I love your username by the way – that’s how I feel most days!) – thanks for your sweet comment. I’m glad you tried the two recipes and they worked for you. Mostly I’m glad that your five year old liked the soup – that is an accomplishment, at least in my family. Thank you!

  37. Liana says:

    I made these last night for a friend’s birthday today and they were fabulous. Very easy to make. My girls even enjoyed helping me “roll” it all together. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe. I can’t wait to give them to my friend for her 50th year celebration!

  38. Melanie says:

    Kara – so glad you made these and loved them! I agree that they are very addictive.

  39. rookie cookie says:

    Best wishes for the safe arrival of your latest dish.Keep the posts coming, however you do it.

  40. KAF Customer Service says:

    Thanks for the mention. Glad to hear you are enjoying the cookies, now go and enjoy that baby. Happy Baking in 2009!MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

  41. Psychgrad says:

    I’ve seen a fair number of these type of cookies. They look addictive. Good luck with the birth! My advice – don’t worry too much about posting. We’ll be here when you get back.

  42. Sally says:

    Congratulations on your new baby, Melanie! πŸ™‚

  43. teresa says:

    Those look fantastic! Congratulations on your upcoming arrival!!

  44. grace says:

    i hope your last days as a pregnant lady (this go-round, anyway…will you be going for five?) are comfortable and enjoyable. bring on the goodies, especially if they’re all as fabulous as these cookies. indeed, peanut butter = magic. πŸ™‚

  45. Emily says:

    I made these over the weekend and loved them, thanks for posting the recipe!

  46. Vanessa Shannon says:

    Yum. Too bad Ian is deathly allergic to PB. Maybe there is a variation to the PB filling?

  47. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    I just made these and wanted to tell you that they are just pure evil! One of the best peanut butter cookies I have ever had! I can’t make these very often or I won’t be able to fit in my computer chair. πŸ™‚

  48. Maria says:

    Good luck with the new baby! Congrats to you and your family! I can’t wait to make these cookies. I love a good surprise in the middle!

  49. Melanie says:

    Emily – glad you liked them. Thanks for letting me know!

  50. Suzi says:

    I have been following your blog for a while. It seems many of your recipes make it into my rotation. We have made the hot hoagies and sweet and sour chicken as well loved each one!
    Can’t wait to try more.

  51. Melanie says:

    Suzi – I love to hear from commenters who have similar taste buds as mine! I’m glad you liked the hot hoagies and sweet and sour chicken. Thanks for letting me know!

  52. megan says:

    I just made these yesterday and they’re great! By the way – I’m the megan from whatmegansmaking who recently befriended you on tastykitchen. I’m back to try more of your wonderful recipes πŸ™‚ Unfortunately i just found out that my husband doesn’t like peanut butter in cookies! Oh well – more for me πŸ™‚ I’ll be posting about them on my blog soon hopefully if that’s ok – of course I’ll link back to you! Thanks for another great recipe πŸ™‚

  53. Melanie says:

    Hi Megan – what a bummer about your husband not liking peanut butter in cookies!! I’m glad you liked them, though and of course I don’t mind you linking back to them from your blog!

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