Make peanut blossom cookies with a more robust peanut flavor

  • America’s Test Kitchen achieved the best peanut flavor while making peanut blossom cookies by replacing a portion of the flour with roasted peanuts, grinding them finely in the food processor so they wouldn’t compromise the cookie’s texture. Associated Press Photo

By AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
Published: 2/5/2019 3:06:56 PM

Peanut blossom cookies first gained notoriety at the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. They’re simply a peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey’s Kiss. We started with the original recipe and made tweaks to it with the goal of achieving a more robust peanut flavor.

Adding more peanut butter didn’t do the trick. We tried swapping chunky peanut butter for the creamy, but tasters disliked the craggy texture it gave these cookies. We got the best peanut flavor when we replaced a portion of the flour with roasted peanuts, which we ground finely in the food processor so they wouldn’t compromise the cookie’s texture.

Most recipes recommend pressing the kisses into the cookies immediately after baking, but the warm cookies softened the kisses too much, and they took four hours to firm up again — longer than we were willing to wait to indulge.

Strangely enough, we found that placing the chocolates on the cookies during the last two minutes of baking helped them firm up more quickly. Why? It turns out that a little direct heat stabilizes and sets the exterior of the chocolate, and the kisses were firm enough to eat after the cookies had cooled for just two hours. Any Hershey’s Kiss — dark, milk, white or “Hugs” — works in this recipe.

Peanut Blossom Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cups (6 oz.) all-purpose flour

½ cup salted dry-roasted peanuts

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

8 T unsalted butter, softened

cup packed (2 oz.) dark brown sugar

cup (2 oz.) granulated sugar

½ cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

48 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Process ⅔ cup of flour and peanuts in a food processor until the peanuts are finely ground (about 15 seconds); transfer to a bowl and whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining ⅔ cup flour.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy (about two minutes). Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture in two additions and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are just set and beginning to crack (nine to 11 minutes). Working quickly, remove the sheet from the oven and place one candy in the center of each cookie, pressing down firmly. Return the sheet to the oven and bake until the cookies are light golden (about two minutes longer).

Let the cookies cool on the sheet for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely before serving. Makes 48 cookies.




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