Peanut Butter Heart Cookies

pb heartsReese’s now makes a heart-shaped version of their miniature peanut butter cup. They are quite tasty on their own, and even better when placed on a peanut butter cookie. I always think of the classic peanut butter blossom, with its Hershey’s Kiss, as a Christmas cookie, and this is a nice alternative for Valentine’s Day.

A few folks have asked how I keep these cookies soft, and the key there is in the baking time. Most recipes over-estimate baking time, which yields a harder, crunchy cookie – especially with peanut butter cookies. If you’re after a soft cookie, under-bake them by a few minutes. When you pull them from the oven, allow them to sit on their baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool them – they continue baking, but won’t over-bake, that way.

The actual in-the-oven baking time for these cookies is 10 minutes, because you need the bottoms to be sturdy enough to hold the candy once you place it. Once you’ve placed your chocolates, move your cookie sheet to a cooler place, away from the oven, so the chocolate can start to set sooner.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • About 36 Reese’s peanut butter hearts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

Unwrap 36 hearts and set aside in a cool place, away from the heat of the oven so they don’t start to melt.

In a small bowl, measure out 1/4 cup sugar for rolling; set aside.

In another small bowl, measure out 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until smooth.

Add sugar mix and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined.

Add flour and beat until well-combined.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll into balls; roll balls in sugar and place two inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and immediately press one heart in the center of each, then transfer the entire baking sheet to a wire rack away from the oven to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

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