In America, we grow up being fed peanut butter. Sure, there are probably some who do not like peanut butter but these people scare me. This is not to say people who are allergic to nuts scare me, just people who don’t like peanut butter. Peanut butter is great. You can put it on bread, with grape jelly, and have yourself a delicious sandwich. You can put it on a rice cake, with marshmallow fluff, and have yourself a modified “fluffer-nutter” that you can almost convince yourself is healthy. You can drop a tablespoon of it in a blender with yogurt, a banana, honey, a dash of milk and some ice and you can make yourself a smoothie that actually is healthy.
Or, the best of the lot, you can bake it into peanut butter cookies (which, by the by, are not healthy).
Now every American knows about these cookies. They may not like them but I’m pretty certain it is a requirement of being American to know about these cookies. It might be on the citizen test but I’m not certain about that. If it isn’t, it should be.
These cookies are quintessentially American. Peanut butter. Cookie Form. Hershey’s Kiss pressed into the middle.
This may be blasphemy, but these cookies do not reach their zenith of deliciousness unless you press a very English square of Cadbury Dairy Milk into them after they’ve baked.
Let me digress. English chocolate is great. It doesn’t matter what kind you get, you will not be disappointed. I don’t want to be stoned by my American brethren, but the cheapest, most common English chocolate is better than most widely-available varieties of American chocolate. This is true also for ice cream. English ice cream is freaking great. Even the least expensive ice cream will curl your toes with delight the instant it touches your taste buds. But treat yourself to clotted cream ice cream and you’ll think you died and went to ice cream heaven.
So, getting back to the point, these quintessentially American cookies, when fused with English chocolate, are, quite simply, the bomb.
- 1 Big Bar Cadbury Dairy Milk (or a bag of Hershey’s kisses if you are in the US)
- ½ Cup Trex (or Crisp and Dry or shortening in the US)
- ¾ Cup Creamy (smooth) Peanut Butter
- 1/3 Cup (packed) Light Brown Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tablespoons Milk
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ Cup Flour (Plain in the UK, All Purpose in the US)
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda (Bicarb in the UK)
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- Extra Granulated Sugar – but I use colored sugar
How to do it…
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C or 375 degrees F.
Open your bar of Dairy Milk, separate the squares and try not to eat any. It is good to have an extra bar of Dairy Milk just in case you need more squares. You won’t, of course, so then you’ll have the extra bar just to eat. If you are using Hershey’s Kisses then take off the wrappers.
Beat the Trex (shortening) and peanut butter in a large bowl until well blended. I do this in my KitchenAid standing mixer because, well, I’m lucky enough to have a KitchenAid standing mixer.
Now, add both sugars and beat again for a good long while, until fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat again. Whisk together the flour, soda (bicarb) and salt and dump this into the peanut butter mixture. You could take your time doing this and probably should if you are beating by hand, adding it bit by bit. If you have a mixer, that will do all your work for you so you don’t have to mess about with gradually beating it all in.
Next up, shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. This is where I get creative and use colored sugar. Red and green for Christmas. Rock Chick pink, green or purple because I’m a Rock Chick. Whatever. Tinted sugar doesn’t make these taste better but they look awesome.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake eight to ten minutes (seven, if you have a fan-assisted oven) until lightly browned. When you pull these puppies out, immediately press the chocolate squares or kisses in the middle. Don’t fret when the cookies crack a bit around the chocolate, they’re supposed to do that.
Now slide those cookies onto a wire rack and let them cool. This is going to take awhile because you can’t really move or stack them until the cookie and the chocolate (which will melt into the cookie) hardens.
Or, at this point, you can carefully pop one into your mouth and enjoy