Monday, December 10, 2012

Magic in the Middle Cookies

We traveled from Port Aransas to South Padre Island on Sunday.  We explored the area briefly yesterday afternoon since it was beautiful out (mid 80's in the afternoon) and then made some steak fajitas for dinner.  The weather took a dramatic change with a cold front coming in with a storm this morning and the temperatures stayed pretty much at 58 degrees all afternoon.  I decided it was the perfect day to bake some cookies and these are what I chose.

These are a sugar coated chocolate cookie with a peanut butter filling.  The filling is just simply peanut butter combined with confectioners sugar.  The chocolate cookie part was made with cocoa, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  The filling was rolled into balls made from 1 teaspoon of the dough and the chocolate cookie dough was wrapped around the filling.  The cookies were then dredged in granulated sugar and flattened before being baked.  These reminded a little of eating a cookie version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  Gerry's comment on them was "these need to go on the Christmas cookie platter"....high praise for a cookie from him.

Magic in the Middle Cookies
Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

For the Dough
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for dredging
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate

For the Filling
3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the Dough
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Fold in the chocolate.

For the Filling
In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.

Scoop the chocolate dough into 26 tablespoon portions, make an indentation in the center of the dough with a finger and place one of the peanut butter balls in the indentation.  Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together to cover the center.  Roll the cookie in the palm of your hands to smooth it out.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Place extra sugar in a shallow bowl.  Roll each cookie in the sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.  Using the bottom of a drinking glass, flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.  Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until they have set (and you can smell chocolate). Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Bake the remaining cookies on a cooled baking sheet.  Enjoy!

Note:  These cookies are better once cooled (Gerry will attest to this)

Recipe slightly adapted from The Galley Gourmet

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