I'm sure you've all tasted the famous Peanut Butter Blossoms, which became universally popular after appearing on the back of a Hershey's Kisses candy bag many years ago. There's a reason they have such staying power; they're delicious. But here's the thing—I don't want to share the same old recipe that appears on every food site on the web. I want to share one that's even better.
A bold statement, I know. And I promise I didn't totally reinvent the wheel. I just gave the cookies a little homemade twist. Instead of store bought candy, I decided to plant a creamy, dreamy espresso ganache kiss on top of a chewy peanut butter cookie. The barely-sweet, Kahlua-spiked truffle gives your favorite childhood treat a driver's license (or better yet, a fake i.d.).
I served these cookies to a group of hungry taste testers (i.e. my fiance, parents, and coworkers); I think the empty serving tray and desperate pleas for more speak for themselves. In fact, I promised to make another batch tomorrow...
Peanut Butter & Espresso Truffle Blossoms
Peanut Butter Cookie recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on size, with extra truffles
For the espresso truffles
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (10 ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
1 teaspoon espresso powder
For the peanut butter cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cane or turbinado sugar, for dipping
Chocolate espresso truffles (recipe above)
For the truffles, in a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium to medium-high heat until simmering but not boiling. In a separate bowl, add the Kahlua and espresso powder to the chocolate chips. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until completely combined and the mixture is smooth.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. While the chocolate is still glossy and just a bit runny, spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Hold the pastry bag perpendicular to the sheet pan, tip almost touching the pan, and allow the chocolate to slowly "fall out" of the bag (you can squeeze gently if necessary). Once you have formed a small mound, stop squeezing and swiftly lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail on top. Allow the truffles to sit at room temperature until set, about 1 to 2 hours.
For the peanut butter cookies, preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and peanut butter until blended. Pour in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
Using a small spring-form ice cream scoop, shape the dough into balls about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Roll each ball into the sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a chocolate truffle into each cookie. All the cookies to cool completely.
Note: These cookies can be prepared the day before baking. Shape the dough into balls, roll in sugar, and refrigerate until ready to bake; remove from the refrigerator about 30 - 45 minutes before baking. Make truffles and store in airtight container at room temperature.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)