Friday, January 20, 2006

My favorite cookie

I may be a "foodie" who enjoys both cooking and eating many different kinds of food, but I'm no food snob. I like simple dishes and deserts just as much as I like fancier, more "gourmet" offerings.

Take, for example, the recipe below. Everyone and their grandmother (including mine!) makes these cookies, yet despite their omnipresence I still can't help but scarf down one or two (or four or five) every time I see them poking out of a cookie jar.

You can poke a lot of different chocolate candies into the top of these lovely blossoms: Hershey's kisses, chocolate stars--or my favorite, miniature peanut butter cups. If you can find the white chocolate variety of mini peanut butter cups, use them--you won't regret it.

I've been meaning to try a unique twist on these cookies for some time - baking them in mini-muffin tins and then creating a well/divit in the center with the end of a wooden spoon or similar utensil. Once cooled I would fill the indentation with chocolate ganache, frosting or even Nutella (mmmm, my mouth is watering at the thought!). I'll let you know if it works out.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Dump the butter and peanut butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and blend until light and fluffy. Add sugars and then vanilla and eggs, beating until combined well.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and then gradually add to the creamed mixture. Continue mixing just until combined.

Roll into balls and then roll in sugar (if using miniature peanut butter cups, you may want to place balls of dough in greased mini-muffin tins instead of laying them on cookie sheets). Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Press chocolate star, kiss or peanut butter cup into center and bake for another 2 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Alternately, just bake the cookie portion for 10 minutes, add the chocolate and then let cool.

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