Thursday, December 27, 2012

Four Weeks of Cookies: Peanut Butter & Espresso Truffle Blossoms

For the second installation of Four Weeks of Cookies, I am thrilled to introduce you to my new favorite confection and one of the best cookies I've had in a long, long time. Picture a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie topped with a decadent dark chocolate and coffee truffle. Now square the deliciousness factor, and, voila! you have a peanut butter & espresso truffle blossom. Everything about these cookies is just perfect—texture, flavor, appearance.

Long story short, you need to get into the kitchen and make these bad boys. Stat. Luckily for you, they're not super difficult. The cookies themselves are a breeze. The truffles are a little trickier, but still manageable. The process involves using a large plastic sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate mixture onto parchment paper and allowing a couple of hours for the truffles to set. While this may sound annoying, don't take the easy way out and use Hershey's Kisses. I promise you the truffles are worth it.

Next time, I'd like to play around with the flavoring a little bit. I think whiskey flavored truffles, or maybe even bacon flavored, could be interesting with the peanut butter cookies, but who knows. I'll try it and report back. In the meantime, enjoy this recipe. It's out of this world good.

Rolling the dough in sugar before baking gives the cookies a little extra sparkle

Bon appetit!

Peanut Butter & Espresso Truffle Blossoms
Makes about 3 dozen, with extra truffles
1/2 c heavy cream
10-oz bag bittersweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp Kahlua liqueur
1 tsp espresso powder

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Extra sugar, for rolling

To make truffles, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, until simmering but not boiling. In a separate bowl, add Kahlua and espresso powder to 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 (or create a makeshift pastry bag by filling large plastic bag w/ chocolate and cutting off an edge to create a medium sized opening). 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 (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. If they are not solid after 2 hours, refrigerating them for a few minutes should do the trick.

Hold pastry bag perpendicular to the surface when piping or your truffles will collapse like these did

To make the peanut butter cookies, preheat oven to 375° F. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until blended. Pour in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Shape the dough into balls about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Roll each ball into the sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press a chocolate truffle into each. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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.

Source: The Kitchn

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