My father-in-law loves chocolate and peanut butter and has been begging me for a special treat. He does so many things for The Artist and me – how could I refuse! So I went hunting for something new to make and share with you and I found these incredible cookies. O.M.G. they are so good!
I found the recipe on Mary Younkin’s website, Barefeet in the Kitchen. I had seen Mary at several conferences, but finally officially met her at BlogHer Food in Miami last year. She always has the most beautiful smile on her face and her laughter is contagious and will have you giggling along. Please pop over to Barefeet in the Kitchen and check out her recipes. There are over 1000 of them to choose from so I’ll bet you can find something fun to make. 😉 I know you will be impressed and you should bookmark the page – you’re going to want to come back often!
Mary’s version is also gluten-free, but I used my favorite blend in place of the combination of flours and starches she recommends. You can use whichever you prefer – check the original recipe for her suggestions. If you do not need to bake gluten-free, I have included the option to bake these with regular all-purpose flour.
The cookies are a lovely deep rich chocolate, so dark they are almost black. They contrast perfectly with the caramel-colored peanut butter filling. These are a little like a crispy Reese’s. The longer you leave the cookies (overnight would be good), the softer they get and the easier the cookies are to eat. However, beware – you’ve been warned – you are not going to be able to resist them. I waited about an hour and I still had filling squishing out. Oh well, what’s a little peanut butter between friends, LOL.
You could easily serve the cookies on their own. They would be fantastic with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar and served alongside a piping hot cup of coffee or espresso. When they are baked they look a little like crinkle cookies. Really lovely. I could win blue ribbons with these beauties.
I like that we can control the sweetness in the filling. The cookies are not that sweet on their own, so I liked the ratio of sugar to peanut butter that Mary came up with. But if you have major sweet lovers in your family, you can up the ratio and make everyone happy.
The slight bitterness of the chocolate cookies balances the sweetness of the peanut butter filling. These are treats that would be lovely any time of the year, but with the coloring, I can’t wait to serve these for Halloween!
Enjoy these really easy to make and luscious cookies. I know they will bring a smile to your face!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Use a very small spring-loaded scoop for the easiest and most consistent size cookies. When you are laying the baked cookies out, try to match them as closely as possible in size so they will sandwich together more easily.
If you love the look and flavor of vanilla seeds in your desserts, instead of extract, use vanilla paste. It is my favorite and I love the intense flavor it gives my baked goods. Give it a try and see what you think.
Peanut butter is naturally gluten-free, but some manufacturers are more careful than others at guaranteeing safety. Some process other products that may contain contaminants on the same equipment. Always look for a GF certification on the label to be sure. Skippy and Peter Pan brands are generally gluten-free, though some varieties may contain soy ingredients.
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum
- 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar, to taste
- 1 tsp organic vanilla paste or extract
- About 1 to 3 tbsp heavy cream or milk
- Make the Cookie Dough: In a small (2-cup) bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda together and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, with your standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture will look slightly lumpy, but it should clear the sides of the bowl. With the friction of the blade(s), the butter will soften even more and incorporate the sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until satiny. Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined and smooth. If you are using regular dough, do not over beat the batter or your cookies will be tough.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill the dough 1 hour. If you don’t chill dough, the cookies will spread and be much thinner. Resting also helps the gluten-free flours fully absorb the liquids, giving you a better tasting cookie.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Using a spring-loaded scoop, portion the dough into small balls about 2 to 3 tsp each and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving room between the cookies to allow for spreading. Keep the remaining dough chilled until ready to bake the next batch.
- Bake the Cookies: Bake for 8 minutes, only until they begin to crisp on the edges; they will still look a little moist in the center. Let the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 2 to 3 minutes before sliding the parchment with the cookies on it onto a wire rack to cool completely. This allows them to finish cooking in the center and firm up. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Make the Filling: While the cookies are cooling, combine the peanut butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of your standing mixer. Beat about 2 minutes until thoroughly combined. Taste and beat in more sugar if desired. Add 2 tbsp of the cream and beat until smooth. Taste and add more sugar if desired. The filling should be creamy and smooth enough to spread easily. Add more cream if needed for a good a spreading consistency. If it gets to thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Fill the Cookies: When the cookies are cool, turn half of them over so the flat side is up and place a large dollop of the filling on top. Place another cookie (flat side down) over the filling and press gently together to spread the filling to the edges. If you like, you can spin the top cookie a bit for a slightly prettier presentation.
- Set the cookies aside for at least 30 minutes before serving. They will become softer and absorb some of the moisture from the filling.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Yield: 12 to 14 sandwich cookies (if you want larger or more cookies, double the recipe)
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