One of my grocery store foes happens to be the mini peanut butter cups at Trader Joe’s. Every time I go to pick up perfectly acceptable items like zucchini and milk I walk by the aisle that they live in and stare at them with barely concealed mouthwatering longing. For three years I’ve managed to reign myself in and not add them to my cart, but last week the temptation proved too great and I came home with a box. As I suspected, I had absolutely no will power what-so-ever when it came to these miniature peanut butter minions as I promptly sat down the next afternoon and allowed them to keep me “company” while watching a tivoed Project Runway episode. If CK hadn’t come out of his office before Tim Gunn started telling everyone to “make it work” I’m quite sure I would have eaten them all.
So In an effort to curtail this bad snacking behavior I decided my best course of action would be to bake the evil treats into something and send them into the world for other people to enjoy and establish peanut butter addictions to. But if we’re going to be bad, I figured, be bad all the way. So with a few simple additions to the previously showcased Chocolate Chip Filled Melting Moments recipe I created a silky peanut butter version of the cookies, gloriously sandwiched with a buttery peanut butter icing and studded with mini peanut butter cups. Get that gallon of milk ready and make sure it’s skim because you’re going to need it!
As for me, I’m hopefully back on the candy free wagon.
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Filling (Note: I tend to double the below icing recipe so that my melting moments are a bit overstuffed).
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/8 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature peanut butter cups (Note: I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s)
Position a rack in the middle of he oven. Preheat the oven to 300º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the cookies. Sift both flours, the cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until smooth and lightened slightly in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the owl as needed during mixing. Add the vanilla and mix until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated and a smooth dough forms.
For each cookie, roll a level tablespoon of dough between the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Use a fork to gently flatten the cookies to 1 1/4 inch disks, leaving an impression of the fork tines. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and the cookie bottoms are lightly browned, about 30 minutes; the tops of the cookies should not color. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the filling. In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon to stir the butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter cups.
Turn half of the cooled cookies bottom side up, and use a thin metal spatula to spread a rounded teaspoon of filling evenly over each one. Place the remaining cookies right side up on the filing, and press gently.
The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 5 days.