I have been wanting to make these for awhile,
and when Lisa showed up with a box of THESE from Trader Joe's in Seattle:
I knew the time had come to take this idea out for a spin. (These are peanut butter cups of the miniature variety. They're a little larger than miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.)
The evil genius part comes when you make up a batch of peanut butter cookie dough, press balls of the dough into a cupcake pan (or miniature cupcake pan), bake them for 6-8 minutes and then, while the dough is still soft, press miniature peanut butter cups into the centre and continue baking. And then you end up with this:
Which, when cut open, look like this:
Need I say more?
13 oz (2 34/ cups + 1 Tbsp) all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 lb (1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour and baking soda. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment . Beat the butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Beat in the eggs until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until blended about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated.
Press the dough into the bottom third of a cupcake/muffin tin (I used a regular sized tin because these miniature peanut butter cups are larger than the Reese's variety. I think a miniature cupcake pan could work with smaller peanut butter cups)
Bake for 6-8 minutes and pull from oven. Gently press the peanut butter cups into the centre of the partially baked peanut butter cookies. Cook for another 6-8 minutes. Cookies should be golden brown, but still soft.
Let these cool in the pan, and then use a couple of knives to gently "lift" them from the cupcake pan. (Um. If you turn them over on a rack to cool, the peanut butter cups will drip, drizzle or drop out. It's not a pretty sight. I learned this the hard way and lost a couple o' soldiers during the de-panning.)
If you enjoy peanut butter, you will LOVE these. They are totally decadent and bridge the gap between candy and cookie. And THAT, gentle reader, can NEVER be a bad thing! I took them to the first meeting of my new reading group, and everyone seemed to approve.