Graduation day! Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday that M and I were playing restaurant with plastic cobs of corn and hamburger buns. Last Tuesday was actually the last day of school, so since then, with no exams it's been smooth sailing towards summer! A couple of my friends and I decided to kick it off with a baking (...eating) fiesta!
Peanut-Butter Surprises...think of them like Peanut Butter Blossoms inside out! Reversed!
Despite making a few modifications to the recipe, the outcome was worth it. After taking our first bite of these cookies, they were truly a delicious surprise.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*To be honest, we didn't have the Dutch-process cocoa powder on hand so we used regular cocoa powder; this probably contributed to the less obvious contrast between the cookie and the peanut butter center, but the taste was yummy nevertheless!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and 1 cup (NOT the extra 1/4 cup!) brown sugar.
*When we were baking we didn't see to save the 1/4 cup so our cookies ended up being 1/4 cup more brown sugary! But the difference isn't drastic; baking is experimenting, right? Beat these ingredients with a mixer for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing until fully combined. Add vanilla, and beat to combine.
Then, gradually add the bowl of dry ingredients. It might help to mix on low speed until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips, mix, and then cover the bowl so you can refrigerate for about an hour.
--While you're waiting for the dough to chill, in a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and the 1/4 cup brown sugar.
We were done measuring the peanut butter, but a friend brought up the technique of measuring peanut butter in water (the less messy way); what do you think? Do you think it works?
The technique: Add equal amounts of water and peanut butter to make a cup. For example, if you need a 1/2 cup of peanut butter then put a half cup of water in the cup. Make sure the water is cold so the peanut butter doesn't melt. By water displacement, add enough peanut butter to reach the 1 cup line, and there you go! Because the peanut butter has oil, it doesn't mix with the water. Drain the water from the cup and the peanut butter is measured, ready to use.
When the dough is chilled enough, drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto the baking sheets, each ball about 2 inches apart. Making a thumbprint in the center of each cookie, fill the indent with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter mixture (we just eye-balled it).
Top the peanut butter with a second tablespoon of flattened dough. We found that it's easier to just use your fingers to shape the dough over the peanut butter surprise.
Bake for about 16 minutes, or until firm. Rotate the pan halfway through to bake more evenly. The recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies, but this may vary depending on how big you decide to make the cookies.