peanut butter sandwich cookies

peanut butter sandwich cookies

there really is something old-fashioned and comforting about peanut butter. when we’re adults, we may snack on peanuts with a cocktail or smear some unsweetened, natural peanut butter on a piece of toast. but thoughts of peanut butter sandwiches and cookies seem to evoke walks home from school to find lunch waiting for us, washed down with cold milk before heading back on our way.

i was inspired to make these cookies because of the amazing peanut butter cookies from mabel’s bakery in toronto. they are chewy and filled with a divine peanut butter fudge. these are a treat, and one goes a long way. perfect with something cold to drink, and a few minutes to remember a time before sugar was bad and eating a cookie was always the right thing to do.

peanut butter sandwich cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 cup roughly chopped, roasted and salted peanuts

simple fudge filling:

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
pinch sea salt
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. add the sugar and beat until light, about 4 minutes. add the honey and stir to combine. add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides and mixing well. stir together dry ingredients and peanuts. pulse to combine into a soft dough.

preheat oven to 350f. prepare two sheet pans by lining with silpats or parchment. use a 1 1/2″ scoop to portion out balls of cookie dough. roll each lightly into a ball and place 2 inches apart. bake for 15 minutes, switching tray position halfway through baking to ensure even browning. remove cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.

meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, toss in peanut butter and butter, and pulse a few times to combine. add the sea salt and the icing sugar, all at once, and pulse to combine. add the vanilla and cream. scrape down sides and pulse one more time to fully combine. scrape into bowl.

when cookies are cool, measure out a tablespoon of filling into your hand. roll to form a ball. place on the underside of one cookie, then top with another cookie and press lightly to spread the filling. repeat with remaining cookies. store in airtight container.

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mexican drinking chocolate pots de creme

mexican drinking chocolate pots de creme

it’s been a weird april here in ontario. cloudy days and snowy, wind-chill factor nights are keeping the flowers at bay and prolonging that sweet anticipation that spring will, eventually, arrive. that’s just how it is here. spring will come, and so will the heat of summer.

it’s also monday.

so how about some chocolate, with a hint of spicy chili, no less?

one of my favourite things to enjoy in hot weather is a cold cup of drinking chocolate. these little desserts combine classic chocolate pots de creme with the flavours of an icy mexican drinking chocolate, flavoured with a whiff of cinnamon and an ever-so-subtle ht of chili spice.

best of all, this takes 10 minutes to prepare.

mexican drinking chocolate pots de creme

mexican drinking chocolate pots de creme

250g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half or 18% cream
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream
shaved chocolate and cinnamon for dusting

place the chocolate into the bowl of a blender. in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together the whole milk, half and half, egg yolks, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon. cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula, until mixture is thick and custard-like, and coats the back of a spoon. scrape into blender bowl. carefully blend until smooth, holding a towel over the opening and allowing steam to vent. pour mixture into dessert dishes. chill until cold.

whip the 1/2 cup of whipping cream and spoon over pots de creme, and garnish with chocolate shavings and cinnamon. makes 6-8 servings.

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milk + cookies

how did it take me so long to discover cookie butter?

speculoos are one of my favourite cookies, ever. they are thin, crispy little dutch butter and spice cookies. i’ve loved them all my life, but i didn’t know what they were called until i was an adult. the combination of spices is outstanding: pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. and BONUS, they are often baked into fun shapes like elephants, or the windmills of holland!

imagine my delight when i discovered you could buy something called cookie butter. it consists of ground up speculoos cookies, blended with sugar and oil, much like commercial peanut butter. i never said it was good for you. but for me, eating this stuff is the equivalent of netflix and chill, if you catch my drift.

an article in the toronto star maligned cookie butter as an “unneccesary confection”. hey toronto star, why the hostility?

truth be told, cookie butter has limited applications. there’s only so many times you can spread it on toast, or eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon (see “netflix and chill”)

i needed to find another way to use cookie butter. so i came up with this little dessert i call milk + cookies. buttermilk cake batter is piped into rounds, and sandwiched together with a nice thick layer of cookie butter for a two-bite treat. these are a bit of a cake/cookie hybrid, soft in the middle, and just sweet enough.

buttermilk whoopie pies with cookie butter

milk + cookies

you’ll need parchment paper, 1 large piping bag, 1 medium piping bag, a large plain tip, and an open star tip. you can also use a 1 1/2″ scoop to portion the batter, but your circles will not be uniform.

makes 12-14 sandwiches

1 stick butter (4 oz)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 jar cookie butter
icing sugar, for dusting

preheat oven to 350f.

prepare two sheet pans lined with parchment. with a pencil, trace circles on the parchment that are roughly two inches in diameter (i used the bottom of a small juice glass). the circles should be at least 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.

in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. add the egg and mix until light, scraping down the sides of the bowl. turn off mixer and add the flour mixture, all at once, and pulse a few times to combine. add the buttermilk all at once and mix on low just until combined. do not over-mix, it should just be blended. the batter will be thick.

fit your piping bag with the plain tip, and use a rubber spatula to load the bag about 1/2 full. pipe the batter to fill the circles on your parchment. bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool for 5 minutes on the pans, then transfer to a cooking rack to cook completely.

fit your medium piping bag with the star tip and load it up with the cookie butter. it will be very thick, and un-pipeable, so knead and massage the bag and the warmth of your hands will soften it. once you can push it through the tip, pipe about 2 tbsp onto half the rounds. top with a second round, then dust them all with icing sugar. they taste best eaten very fresh!

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french walnut cake

french carrot cake

quite often, i write the blog while eating what i’ve made. right now is one of those times. cake, coffee, and writing seem to go together just right.

i call this french, because it is loosely based on the lovely and traditional french perigord walnut cake, but with the addition of shredded carrots.

it mixes up in one bowl, and needs no further adornment than a good drizzle of honey at the end.

it’s nice enough for company, but simple enough to make just because you feel like some cake. slice and eat with coffee. enjoying at breakfast time would not be the weirdest idea.

Walnut Cake 2

french walnut cake

1 cup walnuts, ground very fine
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold coffee
1 large carrot, grated
2/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey

heat oven to 350f. butter a 9″ round cake pan, line with parchment, then butter the parchment.

in a medium bowl, stir together the walnuts, flour, baking soda, and salt. in a large bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar. add the coffee, carrot, and melted butter, and whisk to combine. add the dry ingredients, all at once, and mix together quickly with rubber spatula. batter will be runny. scrape into prepared pan. bake for 50 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick. if needed, bake 5-10 minutes more. remove from oven an cool on a rack for 20 minutes.

turn out onto a plate and spread the honey over the top. cool completely, then slice.

makes 8 servings.

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