Redemption is sweet, folks. Alison may have won the first round, but I won the second (that’s two-to-one in my favor, but who’s counting?)
Just to get us all caught up on the competition: Sarah won BOTH the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament pools way back in April, and she kindly nominated Claudia to receive her second win. So Alison and I both made cookies for Claudia this summer (we were, again, quite tardy in our baking). Claudia gave us a list of likes (almond flavor /marzipan; pecans; chocolate; peanut butter, especially combined with chocolate; nutella; and desserts with chewy and dense textures), and we set to work. Both of us opted for the peanut butter and chocolate combination. I decided to make sandwich cookies with peanut butter cookies and chocolate ganache filling.
These cookies came together beautifully. I’m particularly proud of them because I have had a hard time creating peanut butter cookie recipes in the past. But these were excellent–perfect consistency and taste. I loved the sugar on the outside, as it added a nice crunch and extra sweetness, but if you prefer less sweetness, you can omit the sugar coating.
One note: Take these cookies out of the oven when they look like they aren’t completely baked. They will firm up and darken a little on the pan. They will not turn out nearly as well if you overbake.
Peanut butter cookie ingredients (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tbsp milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
granulated sugar for rolling
Chocolate ganache ingredients
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
Peanut butter cookie instructions
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter and butter together until light and fluffy. Add sugars and beat until smooth.
- Add egg and continue mixing, then milk, and then extracts.
- Add dry ingredients in 3 batches, beating at low speed to combine.
- Stir in chopped peanuts.
- Separate batter into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours, or freeze for longer. (You can probably bake these cookies without refrigerating the dough, but they may spread out more during baking).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Prepare granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1.5 inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.
- Bake cookies for 13 to 15 minutes. Do not over bake! Cookies should appear very pale and under baked. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
Chocolate ganache filling
- Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside
- In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a light boil
- Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and let stand about 20 seconds, then stir mixture until smooth. Let the filling cool to room temperature before filling the cookies