I’ve been thinking about posting peanut butter cookies for a while, but kept coming across new recipes to try instead. The other night I decided to make a recipe from a very popular person’s cookbook (I’m withholding all names while the jury continues to be out on the book), and they turned out…bad. Well…not bad, I guess. The hubster and NomNom liked them enough to eat a few, but the majority got thrown away and I personally thought they were awful. They were peanut butter chocolate cupcakes. In defense of the recipe, I’m not a big fan of the PB and chocolate combo in the first place, but there was more wrong with these than that. Poor directions, bland chocolate flavor, and way more work than was worth it in the end. Plus, I had this big bowl of chocolate ganache leftover and I wasn’t about to throw it away! I started brainstorming for something new to try with it.
I decided to go for the PB and chocolate combination again.
I thought I’d try a cookie sandwich with the leftover ganache and my mom’s peanut butter cookie recipe. I love peanut butter cookies! They are very, very high on my cookie list…maybe first. The recipe here is the one my mom always made when we were little and I think it might originally come from Betty Crocker, but I’m not 100% sure. I have tweaked it myself a bit over the years to make it a slightly puffier cookie, and I’ve even managed to make it vegan!
Our cookie characters today are sugar, peanut butter, butter (margarine for vegan cookies), salt, baking soda, brown sugar, vanilla, and flour. You will also need an egg (or applesauce, for vegan), which I neglected to include here. Oops. I made mine with applesauce and I prefer it. It made the cookies slightly moister, softer, and sweeter.
These are very easy to make! Just whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars, beat in the egg (or applesauce) until combined, and add the peanut butter. Stir until well mixed and add the vanilla. Finally beat in the flour mixture until well combined (I continue adding flour, no more than two cups, until I can touch the mixture and it isn’t sticky anymore).
Next, roll the dough into balls. I would normally roll one tablespoon of dough at a time, but this time I did half of that. Since I’m making sandwiches with them, I wanted to make them more bite sized. I used my handy dandy scoop to get one tablespoon then simply divided it in half and rolled each piece into a small ball, placing them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I spaced them about an inch and a half to two inches apart.
I baked them for twelve minutes in a 375 degree oven. After removing the sheets from the oven, allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for a minute or two and sprinkle the tops lightly with more sugar. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely before the next step.
Either ahead of time or while the cookies are baking, you can mix up your ganache. You only need three ingredients: semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, and corn syrup. Obviously, the ganache is not vegan, but I believe it would be easy to make it so, although I don’t know the right ingredients to recommend. I was thinking carob chips for the chocolate and honey for the corn syrup, but I don’t know what to use for heavy cream. Any suggestions would be helpful!
Place the chocolate in a small bowl, then warm the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer. Now slowly pour the cream over the chocolate to melt it. Once you’ve added all of the cream mixture, stir with a rubber spatula, pulling the chocolate up from the bottom of the bowl. Continue stirring gently until all of the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. For a few minutes, it will look like it isn’t going to combine, but it will, just be patient. I was worried that I had done something wrong the first time I made this, but it just takes a little time for the ingredients to come together. Allow the ganache to cool for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up a bit.
Your cookies should be nice and cool by now. Return them to the cooled cookie sheets and flip them over. Place a small amount (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons) of the ganache on half of the cookies and sandwich them with the rest of the cookies, pressing gently to spread the chocolate to the edges.
These only took about an hour to an hour and a half from start to finish, and all of the ingredients are things that most people always have on hand! I have a feeling they may become a staple in this realm! I hope you give them a try and, as always, enjoy!!
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Makes 4 1/2 dozen 2″ cookies or 2 1/4 dozen 2″ sandwiches
FOR THE COOKIES
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (margarine for vegan)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg (1/4 cup applesauce for vegan)
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (add and extra 1/4 teaspoon for vegan)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
FOR THE GANACHE
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg (or applesauce) until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat until well mixed. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture a half cup at a time until combined.
Roll the dough into balls. scooping one tablespoon at a time and dividing it in half to make two cookies. Place the balls 2″ apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Press each ball gently with a fork in one direction, then again in the opposite direction. Lightly sprinkle the cookies with sugar. Bake for 12 minutes or until just browned.
To make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a small bowl; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream and corn syrup to a simmer; remove from heat.
Slowly pour the cream over the chocolate. Stir with a rubber spatula, pulling the chocolate up from the bottom of the bowl. Continue stirring gently until all of the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. Allow the ganache to cool for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up.
To make the sandwiches: Flip half of the cooled cookies over on a cookie sheet. Place 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of ganache on each one. Gently press another cookie on top of each cookie. Allow to set up for 20 to 30 minutes.
Recipe by Darla