Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookie with Salted Peanut Caramel

Hello friends.  I'm sorry that I haven't blogged AT ALL this month.  It's been busy, to say the least.  Somehow, I still found time to participate in not one but two holiday cookie exchanges, though.  So, I figure I'll share the yummy cookie recipes with you all this week.

This one was my favorite of the three that I made.  I'm a sucker for anything with caramel (and, I'll admit to cheating and making semi-homemade caramel in this case but left the original recipe intact in case you have more time than I did).  They're pretty, too.  A wonderful addition to any holiday spread!

Peanut Butter Cookie with Salted Peanut Caramel

Yields: 50 cookies

Peanut Butter Cookie with Salted Peanut Caramel
Photo credit: Emily H.
For the cookie dough
  • 8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (200g) creamy salted peanut butter (see Note)
  • 1 3/4 cups (250g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the salted peanut caramel*
  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup (100g) finely chopped roasted salted peanuts
*Note: If you're feeling lazy like me, just add a splash of cream (or milk) and pinch of salt to caramel candies  and melt those down.  Fill the thumbprint wells with the caramel mixture then top with chopped nuts.

Optional: 4 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. With an electric mixer, or by hand, make the cookie dough by beating the butter, brown and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well blended. If using an electric mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the peanut butter.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and stir until there are no patches of flour.
  4. Scoop up tablespoon-sized portions of the dough and roll each piece between your hands so they’re as smooth as possible so they don’t crack at the edges when performing the next step.
  5. Space them 1 1/2-inches (2 cm) apart on the baking sheets, then use the rounded end of a wooden spoon, or your thumb, to make a depression in each one. Don’t worry much if the sides crack; push them back together.
  6. Bake the cookies for 13-16 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway during cooking, until they are light-golden brown and the edges barely start to darken. Remove from oven, and while they’re warm, press in to reinforce each depression with the end of the wooden spoon. Let cool completely.
  7. Make the salted peanut caramel by warming the cream in a saucepan or microwave, and setting it aside.
  8. Cook the water, 1 cup sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a caramel, gently swirling the pan only if necessary (to ensure it melt and cooks evenly) until it turns a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the hot cream in a slow, steady stream.
  9. Cool until warm and pourable, then add the chopped peanuts. Spoon some of the caramel into each cookie, letting it set for about an hour, if you want to drizzle them with chocolate.
Storage: Cookies will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 3 to 4 days. The unbaked dough can be rolled into rounds and stored in a heavy-duty freezer bag in the refrigerator or freezer, until ready to bake.
Source: The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet as adapted by and seen on David Lebowitz

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