Sometimes people just don't get me. Am I that different? Is it that abnormal to plan your day around what you bake? Am I the only one who thinks, "It's cold and snowing. What can I bake to warm up the kitchen?" I may be abnormal, but that's the way I am and my family is OK with that.
My latest excuse to turn on the oven is another addition to my embarrassingly long list of peanut butter and chocolate combinations. When I saw these in the Cookies edition of Fine Cooking I knew they were going to be in top five of cookies baked from the magazine. Surprisingly easy to put together, they have a delicate texture and adult flavor that would fool any lucky recipient into thinking you put major effort into these cookies.
So, if you're buried in a snow drift and still have power, embrace the excuse and turn on the oven. So many cookies to bake, so little time!
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sandwiches
- adapted from Cookies from Fine Cooking
for the cookies:
2-1/2 cups smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
All-purpose flour for shaping
for the filling:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 lb (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 deg. F. Line four cookies sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
2- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, and baking soda on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed until just blended, about 25 seconds.
3- Shape level Tbsp of the dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls 1-1/2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet.
4- Using a lightly floured glass or measuring cup, press down lightly on the balls. (I forgot this step and my cookies ended up with a crackly rather than smooth surface. Not much difference other than that, though.)
5- Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are puffed and crackled but still moist looking, about 11 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a rack to cool about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, move the cookies to the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
6- Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave in bursts of 30 seconds, stirring in between till chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside and cool, stirring occasionally, until cool and slightly thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
7- To assemble the sandwiches, turn half of the cooled cookies over so they're flat side up. Spoon 2 tsp of the chocolate filling onto the center of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, flat side down. Press gently on each cookie to spread the filling almost to the edge. Set on the rack until the filling is firm, 20 to 30 minutes.