Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Valentine’s Day is almost here and while I know lots of people think it’s a dumb Hallmark holiday, I enjoy it!  What’s not to like about a holiday that celebrates love?  It’s a low stress holiday around here -  Shane and I aren’t going to buy one another expensive gifts (in fact, we have a $5 limit this year, which I love because it means we’ll be more creative) nor are we going out for a fancy dinner.  We’ll be spending the day together at home and I’ll probably prepare a nice meal for us to enjoy, though I’m still working out the details on that.  One thing is for sure, though: dessert will be decadent, delicious and probably involve chocolate!

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

In addition to making dessert on Sunday, I thought it would be fun to bake a few other treats this week that I specifically selected with Shane in mind.  I may also dig through the archives of the blog and re-make a few of his favorites, something I rarely do since there are so many new recipes I want to try.  The chocolate and peanut butter combo is one of his favorites so these sandwich cookies were an obvious choice when I was looking for a new recipe to try – peanut butter cookies with a creamy peanut butter-chocolate chip filling!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies

This recipe comes together fairly quickly.  You’ll have a much easier time matching up the cookies to make the sandwiches if you use a cookie scoop to portion out the dough, ensuring that the cookies are all roughly the same size.  I got 42 cookies from the recipe and used about half of them to make sandwiches (I made half of the filling recipe below), leaving the other half plain.  I sampled a few of the plain cookies and thought they were really good – sturdy enough to stand up to the filling yet still soft and very chewy.  The filling reminded me of our favorite peanut butter icing so I was pretty sure it’d be a hit.  Fortunately, I was right!  Shane thought the sandwiches were delicious!  The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to add a bit more chocolate to the filling.  I omitted the nuts from the filling recipe and would probably substitute an equal amount of chocolate (so 1/2 cup of chocolate total) when I make them again.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies
from The Best of Fine Cooking Chocolate!

Cookies
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 oz (2/3 cup) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz (3/4 cup, 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Filling
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 oz (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (I omitted)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate, or mini semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

To Make the Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and egg and continue creaming until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl and, with the mixer on low speed, beat until just incorporated. 

Using a small ice cream scoop (or cookie scoop) drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.  With floured fingers, flatten each mound of dough into a 2-inch round.  Bake until the cookies are puffed and golden, 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, cream the confectioners’ sugar, butter and peanut butter with a mixer until smooth.  Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Stir in the chopped peanuts and chocolate.

To Assemble: Match similarly sized cookies to form pairs of 2 for your sandwiches.  With an offset spatula or butter knife, spread a teaspoon (or more) of filling onto one half of each cookie pair.  Set the other cookie on top of the filling and press gently to spread the filling.  Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  They will keep for a few days. 

Makes about 18 sandwiches