Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wait, one more cookie recipe!

Okay, so I lied a little. I presumed that I would be so wrapped up in preparing for my move that I would have no time to put aside to do any baking whatsoever. Well, given my tendency to over-plan, I should have realized early on that I would, in fact, have a few minutes between the packing and organizing and cleaning to relax in the company of a warm oven. More than a few minutes, of course. So after looking through Better Homes and Gardens' selection of all-time favorite cookie recipes, I found one that sounded both delicious and slightly familiar: Peanut Butter Munchies. What these are, are chocolate cookies with a creamy peanut butter filling, and they reminded me of the Tagalongs that I sold as a girl scout, and later consumed as a layperson.
I had always been slightly hesitant to try baking filled cookies, because similar to pie or cheesecake recipes, I have been burdened with the preconceived notion that they are difficult, complicated, and take much too much time to put together. Of course, I'm very wrong in that assumption, and I'm glad that I had this recipe around to set me straight.

The cookies and the filling are pretty straightforward to create and assemble. The recipe also has the added benefit of getting my hands dirty with dough in order to put together the final product. If I can stick my hands in it, and work with the dough myself without the aid of a spoon or mixer, then I know I've given a little bit extra to my cookies, and likely that I enjoyed the preparation even more. And it was fun to put together these cookies. It helped, of course, that they yielded scrumptious results. I refrained from over stuffing the cookies with peanut butter filling, but I used just enough so that every bite would deliver at least a tiny amount of peanut butter, which is what really makes the cookies stand out. Though the chocolate part is also delicious, it is a basic dough, and really benefits from a little something extra. The granulated sugar added at the very end, on the bottom of a glass or spoon, also gives the cookies an air of holiday festivity, which makes them a perfect addition to the Christmas Cookie Lexicon.

Peanut Butter Munchies


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the 1/4 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until combined. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well. Beat in dry ingredients with mixer. Form chocolate dough into 32 balls about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Set aside.
2. For peanut butter filling, in a medium mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter until smooth. Shape mixture into 32 (3/4-inch) balls.
3. On a work surface, slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball and top with a peanut butter ball. Shape the chocolate dough over the peanut butter filling, completely covering the filling. Roll dough into a ball. Repeat with the remaining chocolate dough and peanut butter filling balls.
4. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
5. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until they're just set and surface is slightly cracked. Let cookies stand for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.

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