Ellen Clifford
February 28, 2015 11:52 am

It is going to be National Peanut Butter Lovers Day on March 1st. So I carpe diem’d (or would it be carpe’d diem?) like a fool and got some amazing peanut butter treats ready. I chose Peanut Butter Comfort by Averie Sunshine, as my recipe source. After reading her blog for ages, I have come to the conclusion that we have eerily similar dessert tastes, so I figured using her cookbook was a win-win-win situation. First win is eating more dessert. Duh. Second is getting to introduce y’all to an author I really dig. And the last win is also for eating more dessert. Double duh.

Desserts dominate Peanut Butter Comfort (as they should), and these desserts come in every conceivable form. There are the desserts that aren’t actually dessert if eaten for breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes and Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread are currently on my to-do list. There is the No Bake chapter, if you want a peanut butter treat that is fast, but just slightly slower than peanut butter on a spoon. There is a small but satisfactory savory chapter where one can find things like spring rolls with thai peanut sauce. My favorite chapter, however, is the Cookies Galore chapter, where I found today’s recipe.

In preparation for March 1st I realized I was, dare I say, overstocked in the peanut butter department. As if such a problem could exist! I had peanut butter in many forms. So I decided to make a basic cookie recipe so I could divide the dough up and try out the different peanut butters, then do a taste test comparison. The contenders and results:

My kitchen is THE place to hang out in late at night.

My standard go-to peanut butter is Jif, straight up. Not natural, not reduced fat, just regular creamy Jif. Incidentally Jif is Averie Sunshine’s jam, too. Actually I don’t know what she uses for jam. Schmucker’s perhaps? Next up was a jar of Betsy’s Best which is the most exotic of natural peanut butters, as it is cinnamon-flavored and full of chia seeds. I can and I do eat it like that on the regular. Finally there was the Just Great Stuff’s powdered peanut butter which I usually use if I want a smoothie with some good peanut butter flavor. I figured I would reconstitute it and try it out.

My usual complaint about peanut butter flavored things is that they don’t taste strongly enough of the peanut butter in them. Or that they lack chocolate. This recipe uses straight up peanut butter, unadulterated, so I knew the flavor would not be diluted, AND it is sandwiched between chocolate chocolate chip cookies so…do I need to explain the win-win-win situation again? I will anyway. Win one: peanut butter. Win two: chocolate. Win three: more and more dessert. Duh duh duh.

And now for the winners of my little peanut butter contest: They ALL performed. Isn’t that exciting? I would probably pick either the Jif or the Betsy’s depending on my mood. Betsy’s added that layer of cinnamon flavor which was nice, but if I wanted straight-up peanut butter flavor, I’d hit the Jif. Based on my test results I am gonna go out on a limb and say any regular peanut butter would work. Use your favorite. Now go enjoy this cookie, lovers!

Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Brownie Cookies adapted from Peanut Butter Comfort by Averie Sunshine

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (Averie calls for semisweet, I used bittersweet)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Microwave butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Do this carefully, I did mine 30 seconds at a time. Once melted, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir ’em up. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and stir some more. Fold in the chocolate chips. Now, make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls of the dough and put them on a baking sheet or on plates. Flatten them some. You should get about 30. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours, minimum. After that heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating take half the cookies and top with 1 to 1/12 tsp. peanut butter. Take the remaining cookies and place on top. Don’t press them together or the peanut butter will spread too much. Put them on baking sheets lined with either nonstick foil (my choice) or parchment paper or a Silpat (Averie’s choice) with two inches between. Don’t put more than eight on a sheet. Bake each sheet 11-13 minutes. They will firm up more as they cool so don’t worry if they look too soft. Allow to cool and firm and store in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. If they are still in the freezer after three months though, let me know and I’ll send someone to mentally evaluate you.

Peanut butter cookies! Yay! Happy day.

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