These Hanukah gelt and peanut butter cookies are so cute and festive for the holidays. Peanut butter cookies are topped with chocolate gelt coins to make delicious Hanukah cookies. What could be better than a peanut butter and chocolate combination?
These cookies don’t have to just be for Hanukkah! Use a small chocolate heart to make Valentine's Day cookies or substitute chocolate kisses, chocolate peanut butter cups, chocolate stars, or any small chocolate candies that fit on top to celebrate any day!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- These cookies have the irresistible combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
- They are fun and festive for Hanukkah, or any holiday.
- Fun for kids to help make.
- Great idea for a cookie exchange or gift bag.
- The cookies have the best texture, crunchy outside and chewy on the inside.
I took my family’s Peanut butter kiss cookie recipe which is topped with a chocolate Kiss candy, and topped it with a Hanukah gelt chocolate coin instead. Our recipe has more peanut butter and less sugar than many similar recipes, so this recipe has a great peanut butter flavor. It’s been a family favorite for a long time.
I streamlined this recipe with some timesavers. There is no need to chill the dough before shaping or to freeze the candy, although you may if you’d like.
Chocolate Gelt are popular Hanukah candies that are circular flat chocolate discs with an Hanukah-themed imprint like a menorah. They are wrapped in silver or gold foil to look like coins. My kids like to use the chocolate coins instead of real coins to play the Hanukah game dreidel, which is a spinning top. We always have plenty of chocolate gelt candy around during the holiday, so these Hanukah cookies are a good use for the extra gelt that is lying around.
- Make sure to have all the chocolate coins unwrapped and ready to go when the cookies come out of the oven so you can press them in promptly. One reader said that unwrapping the foil on the candy took longer than she expected.
- Another reader tip is to pay attention to the design on the chocolate gelt before you buy it. They don't all have menorahs on it. Her's had the name of the candy company imprinted which wasn't the look she was going for.
- Don’t scoop a measuring cup into the flour, as this will result in too much densely packed flour. Instead fluff up the flour then spoon it into the measuring cup. Level it off with a knife.
- The cookie dough is easy to roll by hand, and should not be sticky.
- Leave the cookie dough as balls to bake on the cookie sheet. No need to press them flat before baking as they will flatten out while cooking.
- These cookies aren't just for Hanukkah! Make them year around by using chocolate kisses or other holiday chocolate.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
Butter - This recipe uses unsalted butter. If you only have salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon. Margarine is usually an even substitute with butter, but I haven’t tested it on this recipe.
Peanut butter - Use a creamy, spreadable peanut butter like Skippy, Jif, or a store brand. If the peanut butter is natural or extra thick, it may need to be thinned out with 1-2 tablespoons of milk in the mixer before using. The cookies pictured were made with Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. I haven’t tested other nut butters or sun butter, but they should work if they have a similar consistency to creamy peanut butter. If they are thick or natural, you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to the cookie batter.
Unbleached all-purpose flour - The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a digital kitchen scale. Otherwise, use the Stir, Spoon, Sweep method. Be sure not to pack or tap the cup of flour when measuring. I have successfully made the recipe by substituting ⅓ of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.
Baking powder - Make sure your baking powder is active by adding a little bit into very hot water. If it bubbles, it is still active and good to use.
Chocolate coins or candy - Hanukah gelt is usually sold in small bags with a variety of coin sizes. Little and big coins work with this recipe. Other chocolate candy that works with this recipe includes Hershey's Kisses, small chocolate hearts, and peanut butter cups. No candy? Use this peanut butter cookie dough recipe without the candy for a terrific peanut butter cookie. Once you place the dough ball on the cookie sheet, flatten it a little with a fork in two directions leaving a traditional criss cross mark.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Step 1: Cream
Cream butter and peanut butter together with a mixer until smooth.
Step 2: Beat
Beat in sugars on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Mix
Add egg and vanilla, then mix well on medium speed until smooth.
Step 4: Whisk
Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add to the wet ingredients in batches. Do not overmix.
Step 5: Dough
The dough should be thick, not sticky, and easy to shape into balls.
Step 6: Shape
Scoop out portions of dough, and shape balls. Option to roll in sugar.
Step 7: Bake
Bake until the cookies just start to crackle and are lightly golden brown on the bottom.
Step 8: Finish
Press a chocolate coin onto the surface of each cookie right when they come out of the oven. Wait for chocolate to harden before moving or serving.
How to Get a Softer or Crispier Peanut Butter Cookie
If you use the given time range, 9-11 minutes, the cookies should be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. You can make the cookies softer or more crispy by adjusting the baking time.
To get a softer peanut butter cookie, bake for less time, about 8-9 minutes.
To get a crispier peanut cookie, bake slightly longer for 12-13 minutes.
In order to attach the chocolate properly, I don’t recommend baking for more than 12 minutes or else the cookie may crack excessively when the chocolate is pressed in.
The cookie dough can be made one day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Dough can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months. Can freeze as formed dough balls or as one whole block.
Storage and Reheating
How to store: Store peanut butter chocolate cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
How to freeze: Freeze baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Defrost at room temperature the night before you plan to serve them. Place a paper towel in the container to absorb extra moisture, and keep the container closed.
If your cookies come out too dry and crumbly, there are a few things that may have caused this.
- Too much flour. This is a common culprit because of a measuring error. The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a digital kitchen scale. Otherwise, use the Stir, Spoon, Sweep method. Be sure not to pack or tap the cup of flour when measuring.
Most professional recipes are developed using the "Stir, Spoon, Sweep method." If you use the "Scoop" method, meaning if you take a measuring cup and directly scoop the flour out of the bag, the flour will be more densely packed. You'll affiliate linkend up with about 50% more flour in your baked good, which makes it dry.
- Wrong type of peanut butter. This recipe uses a smooth, creamy style peanut butter like Skippy, Jif, or a store brand. Natural brands can be thick, oily and separate, which can cause the cookies to be dry.
- Baking time and oven accuracy. Since all ovens can be slightly different, check the accuracy of your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. Try baking a minute or two less.
- Waiting too long to add chocolate. The cookies come out best when the chocolate coin is added right when the cookies come out of the oven. Waiting to add the chocolate can lead to more cracking and splitting of the cookie.
- A missed step. If your cookies didn't turn out well, try re-reading the recipe and the tips in the post. Sometimes it's easy to miss a step or ingredient.
More Hanukah Recipes
- Holidays Evoke Memories and Grandma's Potato Latke Recipe
- Crispy Sweet Potato Latkes Recipe
- Easy Homemade Chunky Applesauce
- Braised Brisket with Onion Gravy
- French Green Beans with Mustard Shallot Sauce
- Sweet Noodle Kugel (parve / pareve)
- Mini Hot Dog Dreidel Appetizer
- Chicken Marbella (for Slow Cooker and Oven)
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend creamy peanut butter for this recipe. Use a brand like Skippy, Jif, or a store brand. If you use other types of peanut butter, the dough is likely to be dry and crumbly. If using natural peanut butter, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to make the dough more moist and pliable.
Yes, you can skip rolling the cookie dough balls in sugar. It is just for decoration, and the cookies are still wonderful without it.
Chocolate Gelt Peanut Butter Hanukah Cookies
- ½ cup butter or margarine equals 8 tablespoons or 1 stick, at room temperature
- ¾ cup smooth creamy peanut butter at room temperature, use a brand like Jif, Skippy, or store brand. Natural brands are too dry.
- ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour measure the flour using the "stir, spoon, level" method or use a kitchen scale (180 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Additional ¼ cup granulated white sugar for rolling and garnish optional
- 32 Hanukkah chocolate gelt coins unwrapped
- Prep: Place the oven rack in the center, and preheat to 375ºF. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Mix: Cream butter and peanut butter in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high, or use a hand mixer and large bowl, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in sugars on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, then mix well on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 1 minute.
- Whisk: Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) in a medium bowl and stir to distribute well. In two batches, add dry ingredients to the wet on a slow speed until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Shape: Scoop out portions of dough with a spoon or cookie scoop, and shape dough into 1” balls.
- Optional: for a sparkle on the finished cookies, place the rolling sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll each dough ball in the sugar so that the ball gets a light coating of sugar on the outside.
- Bake: Place each dough ball on the baking sheet about 2” apart. About 12 cookies should fit on a half sheet pan. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies just start to crackle and are lightly golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven, and bake remaining batches.
- Add chocolate: Once out of the oven, immediately press a chocolate coin on to the surface of each cookie. Press the coin in slightly. The cookies will crack a little when you add the coin, which is normal. The chocolate may melt a little but will firm up when cool.
- Cool: Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then carefully move them to a cooling rack to continue cooling. Do not move the cookies from the rack until the chocolate has completely hardened, about 2 hours. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
- The most accurate way to measure flour is to use a digital kitchen scale. Otherwise, use the Stir, Spoon, Sweep method. Be sure not to pack or tap the cup of flour when measuring.
- How to store: Store peanut butter chocolate cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
- How to freeze: Freeze baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 6 months.