Rachael Ray has been known to say, on many occassions, that she is not a baker; that she cannot bake. She says, rather, she is a cook. I had never really thought about my own skills in that way before. I used to be an equally good cook and baker. But, nowadays, I would call myself a pretty good baker and an ok cook. I found cooking a lot less interesting and satisfying once my children started eating at the dinner table. Sure, Jenna has an adventurous palate, but the boys are much more finicky. Even Kevin, I will find, picks certain ingredients out of a dish and pushes them to the side of his plate. The March issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray had an article/recipe entitled: "Double Your Pleasure" with a huge picture of a bowl with something very chocolately inside. Case in point...a picture truly is worth a thousand words. I was hooked and had to read. The recipe for the photo is "Peanut Butter-Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies." Mmmm-m-m! Who does not like chocolate with peanut butter? I mean really! Do you remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercials from waaaay back when? I'm thinking late 70's maybe. A guy is walking down the sidewalk with his jar of peanut butter (who does that anyway?). Then a lady is walking towards him with her milk chocolate bar. Each are oblivious to the world around them, neither watching where they are going when.
Suddenly! (pause for dramatic effect)
The two collide and then they realize that a big glob of peanut butter spilled out and landed on the lady's chocolate bar and likewise, a piece of her chocolate bar broke off and landed into the guy's jar of peanut butter.
And together, they proclaim, "You got chocolate in my peanut butter." You got peanut butter in my chocolate." As if to imply, this is how the peanut butter cup came to be. No matter how or who decided to put chocolate with peanut butter, I am certain there are few if any who would say this is not the most delicious taste combination on earth.
Here's what I have to say about these cookies. While the taste of the chocolate and peanut butter together is heaven in your mouth, I was a bit disappointed by how hard the actual cookie part is. You know me, I like my cookies soft and chewy. I was hoping for the consistency of a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie. Even my kiddos complained about it a bit. Of course, Jenna has a loose tooth in the front that made it difficult for her to bite into it and what with Evan's braces, it just wasn't worth him risking breaking off a bracket. So I finished his off. Hey! Don't judge me. Cookies cannot be thrown away. Cannot! Will not! Never! Unless the dog has licked it. I do draw the line at eating after the dog. I might be willing to make these again and try baking the cookies for even less time to achieve that soft texture we like. They are yummy, yummy!
Peanut Butter-Stuffed Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Here's What You'll Need:
2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
4 Tablespoons butter, softened, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour - yep, really, that's all the flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Here's What You Do:
First, let me tell you, I think you could get by making these with just 2 cups of the milk chocolate chips. This coming from a real chocolate lover. You melt the first 2 cups and mix it in with the batter and then add in the remaining 1/2 cup as whole chips. I had to buy two bags of the chips just to get that extra 1/2 cup. This normally would not be a problem if it were semi-sweet (something I always use and have on-hand). So I now have a partial bag of milk chocolate chips. I know I'll find a use for them, it's just the principal of the matter. Okay, now, let's get down to making these cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium, microwavable bowl, melt the 2 cups milk chocolate chips with just 2 Tablespoons of butter on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth. It will take about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total in the microwave. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and just 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to thick and fluffy. Now add the melted chocolate and mix on medium speed. Once that's altogether, slowly add the flour mixture on low at first then up it to medium just until it's mixed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips...or leave them out entirely; they don't really make or break the final product. Or! This just came to me. If you happen to have some peanut butter chips around, throw those in instead! I wish I had thought of that when I made these. Next time. Refrigerate the dough for about 15 minutes. You just want to firm up the dough a bit because it's going to be pretty thin by cookie dough standards. I used my small cookie dough scoop. The recipe says that it only makes 8 cookies and I thought that had to be a typo. I still think it is. I ended up with about 20 cookies. I can't imagine eating one that is bigger than what I made. So, heed my advice, make them on the small'ish side. Bake for about 13 minutes. Be sure to take them out even if they don't look like they are done. Let them cool on the pan for a few minutes. They'll be too soft to move from the pan right away anyway. Once your cookies have cooled completely on a wire rack, you are ready to mix up the peanut butter filling. Beat the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter and the peanut butter until it's smooth. Next, add the powdered sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat on high until fluffy. On the flat side of a cookie, spread some filling and top with the flat side of another cookie. Now, go pour yourself a glass of milk, sit down, take a load off and enjoy yourself. Eat it slowly and try to remember how much you enjoyed Reese's Peanut Butter cups when you were a kid. Did you eat around the edge first? Or were you a maniac that put the whole thing in your mouth? I remember eating them in the hot sun at the pool when I was a kid and it melting in my fingers. After Kevin and I got married, I learned that he likes to put them in the fridge and eat them cold. A trick he learned from his Dad. Suffice it to say, there is no wrong way to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (not a paid advertisement). By the way, I put a slice of bread in the cookie container this morning. We'll see if that helps soften these cookies up any. I can tell you that microwaving them helps tremendously, but then you risk having the peanut butter filling ooze out and that's no good.
I bought myself a new cookie dough scoop today. I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond and picked one up. There are times I want the larger one so I decided today was the day to get it. And besides, my kitchen utensil drawer just isn't cluttered enough. Next week's cookie is a bar cookie, so I won't be using the new cookie scoop. Time to go snuggle up with Owen and our new books from the library!