Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Peanut Butter Cookies

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I was at Rustan's supermarket and saw Stonewall Kitchen's sampler of jams and condiments.  Not sure when and where to use them, I bought the lot anyway.  I was most intrigued by the red pepper jelly - made from sweet red peppers - so I tried it in a grilled cheese sandwich.
In itself, the jelly strikes the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.   In a grilled cheese sandwich, it's reminiscent of home made cheese pimiento spread but sweeter and a bit spicy.  Nice.
  
Inspired by my love of Reese's peanut butter cups, I made chocolate and peanut butter cookies.
I've always liked the union of rich chocolate flavor and creamy, salty peanut butter.   In this cookie recipe, instead of incorporating both ingredients, I placed the peanut butter in the middle of the chocolate cookie dough.
From the outside, it looks like the usual chocolate cookie until you bite into it to discover a hidden center of smooth peanut butter.  

Surprise!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or lard, which is what I used in this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, shortening (or lard), sugar, and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully combined between additions.  Add vanilla, beat to combine.  Gradually add the dry ingredients; mix on low speed until fully combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.
  4. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto baking sheet.  Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie.  Fill thumbprint with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter mixture.  Top with a second tablespoon of flattened dough.  Mold dough to cover peanut butter filling.
  5. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until firm.



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