Scout’s Honor Peanut Butter Sandwiches

If you looked through my cookbooks, you’d be able to tell which ones I use the most by the condition of their pages. The books with the best, most reliable recipes have pages that have gotten splattered with batter, sprayed with water, dusted with flour, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and all other manner of baking-related slips and spills.

My King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion is now such a cookbook, its pages warping with good use. Today’s scout’s honor peanut butter sandwich cookies come from the peanut butter chapter, a wonderful collection of classic peanut butter cookies and delicious adaptations. These treats are a home-baked version of Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich cookies, and this recipe yields hearty, peanut buttery treats with a delightful mellow flavor and great texture from the rolled oats that get mixed into the dough. These would also be delicious with a chocolate filling, but the classic peanut butter – which I adapted to include some vanilla extract – is just perfect.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 5 1/3 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats

For the filling

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Cream together, scraping the sides of your bowl a few times. Add egg and beat until fluffy.

Add flour and oats mixing (or stirring, if you prefer) until combined.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten with the heel of your hand to 1/4 inch thickness (the original recipe said to do this with the bottom of a drinking glass, but mine kept sticking, even after I greased it). Bake for 9-11 minutes, until edges are very light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are completely cool, make filling. Combine peanut butter, honey, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract and beat to combine; filling will be fairly thick, almost like the center of a buckeye, and this is the texture you want – don’t thin it out.

Use a 1-inch cookie scoop to scoop filling onto half the cookies; gently press filling down with your fingers and top with another cookie, pressing very, very gently to bring the cookies together but not tear them.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 17 sandwiches.

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Reese’s Pieces Cookies

reeses-pieces-cookiesReese’s Pieces, being made of peanut butter and a crunchy, non-chocolate candy shell, are among the few commercial candies that I can still eat on my migraine diet. This is excellent news, because I’ve always loved them.

What makes Reese’s Pieces even more delicious? When they’re miniature, and mixed into peanut butter cookie dough. While this original recipe from Hershey’s Kitchens used full-sized candies, I chose to go with miniatures because, well, I wanted there to be more of them in each cookie. The end result is delicious, though next time I’ll bake these cookies for a few minutes less than I did yesterday so they can stay a bit softer. Peanut butter cookies get dry when they’re baked even just a minute too long, and the cookies are a bit harder today than I’d like them to be…although this hasn’t stopped me from eating them, of course.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup miniature Reese’s Pieces candies (available in the baking asile)

Preparation

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

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

Add flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms. Stir in candies.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set at the edges but still appear puffy in the middle. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

peanut butter chocolate chip cookiesWhat could possibly top a chocolate chip cookie? A peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. And nobody knows chocolate chips like the folks at Nestlé, which marketed Ruth Wakefield’s famous chocolate chip creation, the Toll House Cookie.

This recipe comes from the Nestlé Very Best Baking site and offers a delightful balance of chocolate and peanut butter. Bear in mind that peanut butter cookies over-bake very quickly, so you want to make sure you pull them at 10 minutes, even though the centers will still look a bit raw. This yields a nice crunchy edge, but chewy middle, once the cookies have cooled completely.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add egg and beat to combine.

Add flour in three batches, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl until completely combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through, until edges are just golden but centers still look puffy. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies

loaded pb cookiesTexture can make or break your baked goods, and for me, great texture is about balance. You don’t want a cookie that is too soft or too crisp, and striking that balance takes patience, attention to detail, and a bit of intuition.

I always (seriously, always) under-bake peanut butter cookies by a minute or two, pulling them from the oven when they still look puffy in the middle. Once you remove cookies from the oven, they keep baking for a few minutes while they cool on the baking sheets. So if you under-bake them by just a minute or two, they’ll reach the perfect level of done-ness while they’re cooling on your baking sheets, and they won’t end up too crispy.

These cookies have a great texture, being both soft and chewy and studded with crunchy Reese’s Pieces. I found this original recipe on Six Sisters’ Stuff, where they are billed as triple peanut butter cookies and use peanut butter chips instead of chocolate. I thought that might be a bit too peanut buttery, so I opted for chocolate chips with great results.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Note: this makes a very, very large batch of cookies; mine made almost 5 dozen.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well-combined and fluffy, scraping the sides of your bowl often.

Add eggs and vanilla, beating well to combine. Add baking soda, then 1 cup of flour, beating to combine. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing between each addition, to form a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of your mixer.

Add Reese’s Pieces and chocolate chips; I used my hands to mix them into the dough.

Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place about 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets; they do not spread that much when baking, but you don’t want them too close together.

Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are still puffy in the middle but brown on the bottom (just use your spatula to gently lift one cookie up to check the bottom). Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

pbmmValentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m preparing a care package for my goddaughter Maureen and her family. This year, Mo is getting some peanut butter M&M cookies, and there will be a few other things for her and her baby sister Margo as well.

Full disclosure: I don’t really like plain M&Ms. I love the peanut kind, and the peanut butter kind, but plain M&Ms have always seemed too…well, plain…for my taste. They’re perfect in these cookies, though, adding a nice pop of chocolate and some crunch.

If you’re planning to bake and ship these, make sure you package them well with several layers of waxed paper in the container. I’m pretty sure they’ll ship well, but it’s always best to be on the safe side with your packaging.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup M&Ms candies (I used the Valentine’s Day mix)

Preparation

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

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add sugars and beat until fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until very well-combined.

Add egg, vanilla, and milk, beating on low speed until combined.

Add flour mixture in two batches, beating well after each addition.

Stir in M&Ms.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are just golden. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_1597I’ve been away from my oven for the past two weekends, first traveling for work and then sidelined with a cold. Today, I simply needed to bake something.

My health coach recently asked me what I love about baking, and I told her that I love both the structure and creativity of it. You can look at a recipe and know, with some certainty, how it will turn out, but you also have the power to add or omit or change a few ingredients and come up with something entirely different. This recipe is a good example of that creativity, as it blends two classic cookies, the peanut butter cookie and the chocolate chip cookie, and makes them into something new and delicious.

Just a few notes about these treats: while they’re baking, you want to keep a close eye on them, because they over-bake very quickly. Check them around 10 minutes in the oven, then give them another minute or two, but make sure you pull them when they’re golden brown at the edges and still just slightly raw-looking in the centers. Don’t worry about under-baking them; they’ll continue to bake for a few minutes while they cool on the cookie sheets anyway, but you won’t be able to achieve the soft, chewy texture you’re after if you bake them too long.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • About 1/4 cup sugar, for pressing onto tops of cookies before baking

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together white sugar, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla, scraping sides of the bowl frequently.

Add egg and beat well.

Add flour mixture in two batches, mixing until well-combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Butter the bottom of a glass and dip it into sugar, then press onto each scoop of dough to flatten. You’ll need to dip the glass into the sugar before flattening each scoop of dough.

Bake for 10 minutes and check progress; cookies are done when their edges are golden brown but the centers appear just slightly raw. Average baking time is 12-14 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove cookies from oven and cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Blossoms

pb blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

My mom, Genny, made these cookies every Christmas when I was growing up. Her recipe involved a box of yellow cake mix, and I suspect that’s because she was a busy lady with a full-time job, two children, a million things to do at Christmas, and very little time for completely scratch-made treats.

Charlie Brown asked the immortal question “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is really all about?” and the ever-earnest Linus Van Pelt (who I suspect became a minister when he grew up) gave him a thoughtful answer in this clip. I think we’d all do well to remember, in this time of door-busters and inflatable snowmen and pop stars crooning about chestnuts and drummer boys and reindeer, what Christmas is really all about. So enjoy your friends and family. Bake some cookies (these ones, maybe?). Buy creative gifts from local merchants. Hang out in your pajamas. And take some time to reflect on what Christmas is really all about, and what it really means to you.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, for rolling
  • 36 Hershey’s Kisses

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line several baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.

Unwrap 36 Kisses 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 10-11 minutes; remove from oven and immediately press one Kiss 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 and cool completely on a wire rack.