Monday, February 15, 2010
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
I love reading the newspaper. There’s something satisfying about paging through the inky newsprint, sipping on a cup of hot cocoa, catching up on the latest national news, soaking up the details in the local stories, and comparing the weather forecast to reality. I always save the best for last: the comics (Calvin and Hobbes, I miss you!). The same section has the Sudoku puzzle…I love solving those. There’s a certain comforting feeling about tangible print media that cannot be recreated by online news sources.
My absolute favorite section is, of course, the food and cooking section (too bad it only comes once a week!). I love reading about local restaurants, getting ideas for recipes, and looking through the grocery advertisements. I’ve always been a recipe clipper – you’ll never know when you find a recipe that’s a keeper!
This recipe is one of those clipped-out-of-a-newspaper keepers. It was printed when I was ten years old (there are expired coupons for Chex cereal on the back of it!). My mom had this recipe clipping taped to the inside back cover of one of our favorite cookie cookbooks.
I remember wanting to make the cookies often as a child, partially because I have always loved the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, and partially because the cookies in the accompanying picture had these cute little green and white Christmas trees piped on them – they looked fun to eat. The name they gave the cookies was “Magic Peanut Butter Middles,” a name I always thought fell short (the “Magic” part seemed cool to a ten-year-old, but “Middles”?? Really?? Ok, I guess the name I came up with isn't much better...) Despite the writers’ (and my) halfhearted attempt at a creative title, the cookies were always a hit with me and my sister. Biting into what looks like just a plain old chocolate cookie and finding a delicious, creamy peanut butter filling is fun when you’re ten! (It’s still fun now!)
The recipe is very hands-on, so it’s a little messy, but the method is easy enough that my sister and I made them together when we were young. You might enjoy making these with your kids.
Be sure you use “kid's” peanut butter, not the all-natural kind that you have to stir up before using. (The Jif/Skippy/Peter Pan/whatever kinds contain solid fats, and the cookie recipe presumably was written and tested with that fat composition in mind because it specifically recommends Skippy brand original creamy peanut butter.) Or, try the natural kind and report back on how it turns out…I have never tried using natural peanut butter in this particular recipe, but I have tried Jif brand original creamy peanut butter, and I can say that it works well.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 18 cookies
First, start the cookie dough:
Cookie Dough Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup “kid's” peanut butter (not the “natural” kind)
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda - blend it well. Set it aside.
In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer, but always did this with a wooden spoon when I was a kid), beat together the sugar, brown sugar, butter, and 1/4 cup peanut butter until it is light and fluffy and well-combined. Add the vanilla and egg; beat well.
While the stand mixer is combining the above ingredients, I start mixing together the filling:
1/2 cup “kid's” peanut butter (not the “natural” kind)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup peanut butter and the powdered sugar. It starts out with a rough texture…
…but will come together if you just keep stirring.
Roll the filling into 18 one-inch balls. (Yes, there’s more than 18 here…I made a bigger batch.) Set them aside.
(When I was a kid, I just used my hands, but now that I have better kitchen tools, I use a mini ice cream scoop like this one…
…so much easier! Less mess! It’s exactly one inch in diameter, so it’s the perfect size.)
Back to finishing the cookie dough:
Stir the cocoa mixture into the large bowl containing the creamed butter/sugar mixture until the ingredients are all blended together.
Now start shaping the cookies:
Take a heaping tablespoon-or-so of dough (about the size of a ping pong ball)…
…and use your fingertips to sort of flatten it into a little cupped circle of dough. Put one of the peanut butter balls in the center…
Shape the chocolate dough around the peanut butter to entirely encase it. Roll it around in your hands to make a smooth ball. Place the shaped dough about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet (the original recipe calls for an ungreased sheet, but I always use parchment paper on my sheets for easier cleanup).
Use the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in granulated sugar to flatten the cookie balls to approximately 1/4-inch thick. (Don’t be too skimpy with the sugar or it’ll all disappear into the cookies as they’re baking.)
Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the cookies are barely set and slightly cracked. They should still be soft – do not overbake them or they will be dry.
Leave the baked cookies on the warm cookie sheet for only a few minutes, just until they are firm enough to transfer to wire racks for cooling.
These cookies are soft inside, but have a nice exterior texture due to the sugar on top. With all the peanut butter in these cookies, you’ll definitely need to enjoy these with a tall glass of cold milk! Yum!