I love that every culture embraces some variation of food wrapped around food (e.g., dumplings, empanadas, etc.) and I recently was inspired to translate the idea to baked treats. While at Blissdom a few weeks ago, I received a bag of Hershey's Bliss milk chocolates. I was going to pass them on to a friend (admittedly, normally I only go for organic chocolate), but after reading the ingredient list (minimal), decided to keep them. My preference for organics was overshadowed by an overwhelming desire to wrap peanut butter cookie dough around these chocolates with Laurel.
Laurel and I spent a lovely afternoon together working on the cookies. Usually Laurel likes the dump and mix process of making dough, but she really wanted to unwrap the chocolates. (She actually unwrapped them with her eyes closed because she said it was too hard not to pop them in her mouth if she looked at them.) And then her favorite part of the process was squishing the cookie dough around the chocolates. I fixed up her shapes a bit to make them more uniform in size so I wouldn't have to worry about variable baking times, but otherwise, she rocked the process.
I made things up as we went along. I modified the Peanut Butter Cookie dough recipe from Baking Illustrated and we wrapped the entire bag of Bliss chocolates (36) and still had a lot of dough left. Following inspiration from these awesome cookies with kisses, we wrapped another 40 Hershey kisses (which we happened to have stowed in the freezer) to finish off the dough. Alternatively, you could make plain peanut butter cookies with the leftover dough, or toss in chocolate chips. Really, it’s impossible to go wrong.
Peanut Butter Bliss Cookies
1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Or I recommend using a Silpat mat (I adore these mats; they make cookie edges come out perfect every time).
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixture, beat butter until creamy, then add sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in peanut butter, then eggs, then vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix until completely blended. Gently stir in dry ingredients.
4. Take a spoonful of dough and wrap it around a chocolate, covering completely. If using Hershey’s Bliss chocolates, the dough shape will be round and flat’ish; if using Hershey’s kisses, more circular all around. (In the photo below you can see a mix of the two shapes.) Arrange cookies on a plate that will fit in your freezer.
5. Freeze cookies until firm, about 10 minutes. This step is important to help the cookies hold their shape around the chocolate during baking. Once firm, transfer the cookies to a baking sheet and bake until cookies are slightly brown around the edges but not on top, about 10-12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on baking sheet until set (a couple of minutes) then transfer to a cooling rack.
I highly recommend eating these cookies when they’re slightly warm and the chocolate is gooey inside. Laurel also was giggling up a storm. When Jon came home, she said, “Oh Daddy, we just made plain old peanut butter cookies,” and could barely contain herself waiting for him to bite in and discover what was inside. It was utter bliss.
All images credited to Christine Koh