magic in the middle cookies
Every year I am determined to make cookies for Christmas. Last year, my reindeers were two legged with no necks; the year before, burnt beyond recognition. But this year – bring it on. Yes readers, you will see a couple of cookie recipes before we wash up in this year’s silly season.
To soak up the alcohol, try this very addictive cookie.
Otherwise known as the chocolate-cookie-stuffed-with-peanut-butter cookie.
Usually I will snaffle a one cookie out of a batch (for tasting’s sake of course), but this time I had to stop myself from eating the whole lot. If you like Reese’s peanut butter cups, you will adore these. There is something about the dark, almost bitter outer cookie that is tantalising plain with the salty sweet filling.
It is a bit of work, doling out balls of cookie dough and then the peanut butter stuffing, so make sure you can switch on the TV (I like a bit of Jeopardy) and let your hands go on autopilot. Other than that, it’s an easy cookie that reaps unnaturally high rewards for effort.
Magic in the Middle Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
If you like a sweeter, crisper cookie, increase the caster sugar to 100 grams. Also taste the peanut butter for saltiness, as you may need to add a pinch of salt into the filling. To stop the cookie cracking (I read this tip too late), add 2 tablespoons of milk into the dough.
185 gm all purpose flour
40 gm dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
big pinch of salt
75 gm caster sugar
100 gm brown sugar
100 gm butter, at room temperature
65 gm smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 large egg
185 gm smooth peanut butter
75 gm sifted icing sugar
salt, to season (optional)
Extra caster sugar, to decorate
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Tip the caster sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and egg and beat until well combined.
Using your favourite wooden spoon, add and stir the sifted flour mixture until a soft dough comes together.
Scoop out large tablespoon sized dollops and roll into balls. You’ll get about 20 – 24 balls of cookie dough. If it’s a hot day, put the dough into the fridge to firm up.
Time to make the magic! In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter and icing sugar together.
Taste the filling – the peanut butter should be slightly salty. If not, add salt to taste.
Count the balls of cookie dough and roll the same number of peanut butter balls.
Take a ball of cookie dough and press your thumb into the centre, making a deep indent. Place the ball of peanut butter dough into the indent. Swiftly close the cookie dough over the peanut butter and pinch to seal.
Smooth into a ball. Watch some TV while repeating the rest of the dough balls.
Dip each cookie ball into caster sugar – get those babies totally covered in sugar – then place onto a lined baking tray, spaced 10 cm apart.
Using a flat bottomed cup (ramekins work well), gently press down on the cookies.
Slide into the preheated oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
Enjoy with a glass of cold milk! These are so good!
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