My childhood is punctuated by a collection of recipes. Mom’s spaghetti, Dad’s popcorn, Mrs. Mahoney’s cheesecake, Mr. Gaul’s pasta, Mrs. Kolhede’s sugar cookies, and Nana’s coffee can bread. There are many more (too many to count) and I would suspect you all have a similar list you could rattle off pretty quickly. These are the treats and dishes that make faces light up when they appear. They show up at potlucks and in tins under Christmas trees and by special request on your birthday.
I have made these recipes for myself, but they never taste quite the same as the “originals.” And I guess that’s the point - that they are partially so special because of the loving intentions behind them. Maybe they simply remind us of the person who makes them. Or, that we get to eat something yummy that didn’t require dirtying our own kitchen. Ha.
Kate’s peanut butter and Reese’s cookies take up a lot of real estate in my memory. She brings them every year to an annual cookie party we attend, and I always beeline for them. The recipe requires two ingredients, seriously. For reasons listed above, I still don’t make them for myself. That said, when I came across this recipe and I happened to have the ingredients on hand, I got a craving for those good old Kate peanut butter cookies and decided these would make a fine substitute.
This recipe is from Amy Guittard's Guittard Chocolate Cookbook, which everyone needs. I used Valrhona chocolate (oops…) but in all seriousness I love both brands and keep a variety of both stashed in our cupboard for “emergencies.” There’s something about peanut butter and chocolate that makes people go ballistic. This plays on that classic combination but are still pretty enough to take to a party or package up as gifts. I panicked and made extra ganache filling, and I ended up with extra ganache filling. Guess it’s time to make some more peanut butter cookies....
PEANUT BUTTER DARK CHOCOLATE THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Adapted from the Guittard Chocolate Cookbook
Makes 2 dozen cookies
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (the recipe calls for crunchy, which would be delicious, but I used smooth as that's what I had on hand)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl and with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and egg and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Roll the dough into balls approximately 1 1/2 inches and place on the baking sheets, spacing about an inch apart.
Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and make a small indentation in the center of each cooking using a small spoon (I used the bottom of a rounded teaspoon). Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes or so, until cookies are lightly golden and set. Allow to cool for a few more minutes on the cookie sheets, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. You make need to make a second pass over the indentations after the cookies come out of the oven the second time.
While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken for a few minutes.
When the cookies are completely cool, spoon a small amount of chocolate filling into each indentation. Set cookies aside on the wire racks and allow the filling to cool and completely harden. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen this will take 1-2 hours. If it's a hot day or you live somewhere particularly humid you may want to give them some time in the fridge to speed things up.