Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprises

These chocolate peanut butter cookies are definite crowd pleasers for anyone that likes chocolate and peanut butter. An innocent looking chocolate cookie that surprises any unsuspecting cookie monster with a hidden peanut butter center that is remisicent of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I left some out in the kitchen, knowing full well the roommate would attempt to quietly sneak one. Five minutes later, I hear "Oh my Gosh!" followed by my roommate running into the room to pronounce "These cookies are so good!" So much for quietly sneaking one.

I'll warn you though - these little devils are a little on the labor intensive side and should be done quickly before the dough begins to dry out. Enlist some help with bribes of cookies at the end.

Cookies in different stages (from front to back): 1. Flatten chocolate dough ball 2. Place pb ball on top and wrap chocolate around pb 3. Roll combined dough ball to smooth out 4. Flatten into cookie shape

A stand mixer made all the difference when making these cookies. Getting the last bit of flour mixed into the chocolate outside and the powdered sugar into the peanut butter inside takes some work by hand if you use a hand mixer. When using the Kitchen Aid mixer, it probably cut my time down by 10 minutes. Did I mention my love for the Kitchen Aid?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprises

For the chocolate outside:
1 1/2 C All purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t baking soda

1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/4 C peanut butter

1 egg
1 T milk
1 t vanilla

For the peanut butter center:
3/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C peanut butter

1/2 C granulated sugar

Prep: Pre-heat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.

Combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and 1/4 C of peanut butter in a bowl (or the mixer bowl if you are using a stand mixer). Beat at medium speed until combined. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda from the medium bowl to this mixture. Beat until a dough is formed and ingredients are well combined. If doing this by hand, you may have to knead the last bits of flour mixture in by hand. Set aside.

Wash out the mixing bowl. For the peanut butter center, combine the powdered sugar and 1/2 C peanut butter. Beat until smooth. Again, if doing this with a hand mixer, you may have to knead in the last bits of powdered sugar.

Shape: Divide both the chocolate and peanut butter dough into 32 balls each (for a total of 64 balls). The following steps correspond to the picture above from front to back. Step 1 - Take one chocolate ball and smoosh it a little to form a pancake. Step 2 - Place a peanut butter ball on top, then wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter ball. Step 3 - Roll the dough ball to smooth it out a bit. Step 4 - Slightly flatten the dough into the shape of a cookie (about a quarter to half inch thick). Coat the cookie in the granualted sugar. Place on cookie sheet.

Bake: Bake cookies for approximately 8 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack, as the cookies are still quite soft out of the oven.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking 2007

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