by Stephanie Zonis
4 dozen cookies
Remember these? They're peanut butter cookies rolled into balls before baking; after they come out of the oven, a milk chocolate kiss is placed into the center of each one. For some variation, I tried making these with almond butter, but it is too delicately flavored to be noticeable in the cookies. I use a reduced-sodium and reduced-sugar peanut butter to make these, but I haven't tried it with one of the all-natural brands that separate upon standing, so I don't know if that type of peanut butter would work here.
These classics of cookiedom are easy to make, and I see a lot of potential in this recipe for young helpers, who, I'm certain, would be more than willing to assist with unwrapping and placing the chocolate kisses (better have a few extra on hand, though!). My version includes cookies that stay soft. It is the nature of these cookies to be a bit on the dry side, so a glass of milk is a perfect accompaniment. While these will keep for a day or so at room temperature, it is best to freeze them for longer storage. When frozen, the kisses may appear to develop a bit of grayish bloom, but that should disappear as they defrost (at room temperature and covered).
48 chocolate kisses (I use Hershey's)
1-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, graded "large"
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
Adjust rack to center of oven. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Unwrap chocolate kisses; place in a small bowl near cooling racks. Sift together sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In medium bowl, with large spoon, cream together butter, both sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until blended. Add corn syrup and peanut butter and stir in well. Stir in sifted dry ingredients until combined.
Now, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or flat work surface with aluminum foil. Using a slightly rounded teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon) for each portion, scoop out 48 mounds of dough, placing each on the large, foil-lined baking sheet or work surface.
One at a time, pick up each mound of dough and gently roll it between your palms to form a ball.
As you form each ball, place it on a foil-lined cookie sheet (I bake three "test" cookies first, then I place 12 balls on a 15-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch sheet; as I have only two cookie sheets this size, I fill both up and cover the remaining unrolled mounds of dough with plastic wrap, allowing them to stand at room temperature until needed.) As you form the balls or place them on the cookie sheets, if you notice that any are different in size from their neighbors, you can add or subtract a pinch of dough accordingly, re-rolling the newly re-sized mounds into balls again.
Bake the "test" cookies first, for 6 to 8 minutes, switching the cookie sheet back-to-front once about halfway during baking. As the cookies bake, they will spread slightly and puff up, and the tops will crack. The tops will brown very lightly. Look at the edges of the cookies where they touch the foil, and you'll see that those brown more. Bake the cookies until the bottoms are a light golden brown; this can be a little difficult to judge, hence the "test" cookies. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, place an unwrapped chocolate kiss on the center of each, and press it firmly into the cookies. You don't want the kiss to go all the way down to the cookie sheet, you just want it firmly anchored in the cookie. The cookie will crack more as the kiss is pressed into it—OK. Allow the cookies to stand on the sheet for another minute or so before removing to cooling racks with a wide-bladed metal spatula. Continue baking the cookies, one sheet at a time, remembering to roll the mounds of dough into balls before placing them on the cookie sheets.
When cookies have cooled completely, store airtight. IMPORTANT: When these cookies have finished cooling, and for several hours afterward, the chocolate kisses will be very soft. Therefore, the cookies MUST be stored in a single layer! After the chocolate kisses have hardened, you can stack the cookies, if you wish, placing wax paper or plastic wrap between layers. Store at room temperature for up to a day or so; freeze for longer storage.
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created September 2000
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