This is a recipe that’s fairly easy to make and your readers will just love them. I had these cookies made for me all over the country while I was touring with the book. They’re incredible luxuriousness, comfort, and sinfulness all rolled into one. I like peanut butter and I like really good chocolate — these flavors are meant to go together.
And the fun is in the size of these cookies: one is the entire dessert plus. They’re very dangerous in your house unless you have enormous willpower. LC readers beware! — Marian Burros
For the cookies
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon sugar, plus additional sugar for sprinkling
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
For the ganache
1 pound bittersweet chocolate
1 pint heavy cream
Make the cookies
1. Place racks near the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Using an electric mixer, cream together the peanut butter and butter. Add the 1 1/2 cups minus 1 tablespoon sugar and cream for 20 seconds on medium speed. Scrape the bowl and mix 30 seconds more. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add the flour mixture all at once. Mix until the flour is incorporated and stir in the peanuts.
3. Scoop the dough, about 1/4 cup for each, onto ungreased baking sheets; there should be no more than nine cookies per sheet. You will need three sheets. Press down lightly with a large fork in two directions to make a cross, flattening the dough slightly. Sprinkle each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets. The cookies will be very soft, but as they cool they will firm up somewhat, though they will still be soft. Remove the cookies and let cool.
Make the ganache
1. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and process in a food processor until it is very fine.
2. Heat the cream to the boiling point. With the food processor on, pour the hot cream through the feed tube and process only until well blended. Remove to another bowl and cool. Refrigerate only long enough so that the ganache can be spread thickly between two cookies. Spread equally on 12 cookies; top with the remaining cookies.
3. Put in a cool place, covered, for several hours or overnight. The ganache will seep into the cookies and keep them soft.
Help note: The ganache can also be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered. It will keep several days. To use, heat the container of ganache in a bowl of warm water.
Recipe © 2003 Marian Burros. All rights reserved.