My mother-in-law can’t have peanuts, so although she’s a wonderful cook and makes quite tasty desserts, she doesn’t make anything with peanut butter as a general rule. Since my father-in-law loves peanut butter, I try to make and bring things for him especially every now and again. Last month it was the Peanut Butter Crinkles; this month The Recipe Girl inspired me to make Magic in the Middles (taken from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion) – I mean, chocolate cookies wrapped around a peanut-butter filling? What’s not to like? Besides, she has awesome pictures.
I used Demerara sugar to roll them, which gave them a pleasingly crunchy exterior. These travelled extremely well (tossed around in our luggage to Arkansas), and are still being enjoyed. A definite win!
Magic in the Middles
1½ cups (6¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I used White Lily)
½ cup (1½ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar (plus extra for dipping, or you can use Demerara or another large-grain sugar)
½ cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
½ cup (4 ounces or 1 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup (2 3/8 ounces) smooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
¾ cup (7 1/8 ounces) smooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
¾ cup (3 ounces) powdered sugar
1) Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
2) Prepare dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, beat together sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine, then stir in dry ingredients, blending well.
3) Prepare filling: In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. With floured hands, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.
4) Shape cookies: Break off about 1 Tbsp. of the dough, make an indentation in the center with your finger, and press one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation. Bring the dough up and over the filling, pressing it closed; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
5) Dip the top of each cookie in granulated sugar and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass and use it to flatten each cookie to about ½-inch-thick.
6) Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until they’re set. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack.
Yield: About 26 cookies