Duo of Cupcakes: Part One, Peanut Butter Blossoms

>> Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yesterday was my friend's birthday. My friend loves cupcakes and peanut butter and I like to bake so I wanted to make her something special. Something she couldn't find in Atlanta on her annual birthday cupcake hunt. I saw these crazy cupcakes and knew I had to try and create them. The first step was baking the Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. I didn't want to use store-bought cookie dough because it tends to be too soft and thin. I needed these to holdup inside the cupcake. Bake It in a Cake linked to a cookie recipe but since I have not abandoned my quest to bake everything in the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, I thought I'd check for a peanut butter cookie there first. No luck. The book only has a Peanut Butter Sandwich cookie. Not what I need. However, I stayed true to Martha and found a recipe on her website for Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies. They used mini Reese's cups and if I had any I would've done that too. Can you just imagine? But alas, I only had chocolate kisses. The comments on Martha's cookie indicated these would have a brownie like consistency. That sounded just right.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
adapted from Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 4 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 C packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar, for rolling dough
  • Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.
  6. Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls.
  7. Place sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely. Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and press chocolate kiss into each one. Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.
The finished cookie dough is already tasty. Be sure to take your time beating each group of ingredients. Take special care the butter and peanut butter are smooth before adding anything else.

Rolling the balls in the sugar. I've never done this step on a peanut butter cookie before and was hesitant. I'm glad I didn't skip it. The sugar added no extra sweetness but did give the cookie a crisp outside. Perfect to stand up to the cake batter. And also excellent as a contrast to the soft texture inside when eaten alone.

I've always struggled rolling round dough balls. See the shape my hands create? Like two pyramids stacked together. Anyone know why this happens and how to prevent it? I always have to just press and reshape them after rolling. Awkward.

All my little dough balls lined up two inches apart on parchment paper. I made the first batch of 18 far too large for the cupcakes. The second batch of 12 were slightly less than a tablespoon of cookie dough. I think I could still make them a smidge smaller. These beauties were made with a cookie scoop then rolled. I think they're the perfect size for straight snacking. And does anyone else notice the cookie third row, second from the back? He seem too happy. He must not know what's coming next.

Right out of the oven, still on the cookie sheet press the kiss down in to the middle. The chocolate will soften from the heat of the cookie. Let them rest on the cookie sheet 10 minutes before moving to cooling racks.

The finished cookie. This is a great cookie! The outside is crisp but the inside has a soft, chewy, brownie-like texture. Definite keeper.

Thing One was eager to taste the cookies. He loved them. And he's not a peanut butter lover. *gasp* It's true. If it weren't for the fact he looks so much like me I'd think he wasn't mine.

When eaten while the kiss is still soft is a treat for anyone young or old. The chocolate works well because this is not a terribly sweet cookie.

A dozen of the smallest cookies went in the fridge so the kiss could fully set and withstand what was to come next.

To be continued...

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