Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cream in the Fridge, Dream in My Heart: Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Improvisation in the kitchen, like anywhere else, is delightful!
This recipe was born last year as a way to salvage some barely over-baked peanut butter cookies. PB cookies are often crunchy, and a little dry, especially when overdone. To remedy that, and to revel in my love for peanut butter-chocolatey goodness, I started experimenting with chocolate frosting--visions of sandwich cookies dancing in my head--with the hope that the moisture from the frosting would soften the cookies and mask some of the nearly-burnt bitterness. It worked! The "best value" sandwich cookies were one of our top sellers at bake sales in part because, like most things I make, they eat like a meal.

This go-round (for a Memorial Day picnic), I decided to add oatmeal...because oats make everything better. Oatmeal is pretty much the embodiment of my baking philosophy: something delicious and also - just a little - good for you, something that sticks to your ribs long after the taste has left your tongue.

For the peanut butter-oatmeal cookies, I used the Better Homes and Gardens' recipe, with the addition of extra peanut butter. I didn't measure it out, just scooped extra. I made a double batch; the recipe below is for a regular batch.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c peanut butter
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 teas baking powder
1/2 teas baking soda
2 eggs
1 teas vanilla
1 1/4 c all-purp flour
2 c rolled oats
1 c chopped cocktail peanuts or semisweet chocolate pieces (I left these out)

*Preheat oven to 375.
*In large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter on med-high till smooth (about 30 seconds).

*Add sugars, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping bowl.
*Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
*Beat/Stir in flour.
*Stir in oats (and peanuts, if you're including them)

*Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Ganache

12 oz Heavy Cream
12 oz Bitter or Semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped (most recipes call for bittersweet, but semisweet chips will do)

{Ganache is funny. It sounds fancy in that Francophilic way, but it's actually one of the easiest, most versatile, and most delicious chocolate-thingies you can make. You can use it as the base for truffles or for icing cakes, and it sounds so sophisticated. Though I eschew sophistication, most often cause it seems artificial, and wish we just called ganache "chocolate yumminess," cause that's what it is.}

*Simmer cream in saucepan.
*Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips. Allow chocolate to soften for a minute or two.

*Stir with wooden spoon/whisk until combined. Let cool to room temperature before using.

I often let the ganache cool in the fridge, then spread about a 1/2-1 Tables on the side of one cookie, before smooshing a similarly sized cookie on top of it. I love these cookies, perhaps because, like love, they make my pulse race and my tummy tremble. Yay!

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