Friday, October 31, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillow Cookies

I don’t buy Halloween candy anymore. I used to go trick-or-treating when I was younger, and the Engineer and I bought candy to hand out the first two years we lived in our house, but we’ve turned off the lights for the past two years and intend to do the same tonight. (I’m sure we’ll be making up for it with the Little Prince soon enough.) That being said, I think my favorite candy involves chocolate and peanut butter, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups being a prime example. And since it’s been well established that I like pillow cookies, these peanut butter chocolate pillows were right up my alley. Consider them a grown-up version of Halloween candy!

Note that it can be hard to gauge the amount of peanut butter mixture and dough to use for each cookie. In my case, I got 36 balls of peanut butter, but only enough dough for 18 cookies, while the recipe should have yielded 24. I admit that I had a bit too much chocolate dough in my cookies, but it wasn’t pliable enough to allow me to use less… In any event, these were great. Shape all your cookies and store any unbaked ones in the fridge until needed. Note also the leftover peanut butter balls can be discretely eaten straight from the fridge.

Oh, and did I mention these are vegan?

For the chocolate dough
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. black unsweetened cocoa (or more Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder)
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk (I used soy milk)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the peanut butter filling
¾ cup natural salted peanut butter, crunchy or creamy style
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp. soy creamer or non-dairy milk (I used soy milk)
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, sift in flour, cocoa, black cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine sugar, oil, maple syrup, soy milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix to form a moist dough.

To make the filling, in another mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), beat together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tbsp. of soy milk and vanilla extract to form a moist but firm dough. If peanut butter dough is too dry, stir in remaining tablespoon of non-dairy milk. If dough is too wet, knead in a little extra powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Create the centers of the cookies by rolling the peanut butter dough into 24 balls. Scoop a generous tablespoon of chocolate dough, flatten into a disc and place a peanut butter ball in the center. Fold the sides of the chocolate dough up and around the peanut butter center and roll the chocolate ball into a smooth ball between your palms. Place dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. If desired, gently flatten cookies a little, but this is not necessary.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let cookies for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

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