Saturday, October 30, 2004

OK Art – This one’s for you…

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples

I’ve been in the mood to bake lately, but until today just hadn’t found the right excuse. Yesterday I got an email from a friend saying there was nothing he could eat in “my little kitchen”. So, I looked through my favorite cookie cookbook in search of a recipe that would be to his liking. I love to bake cookies, but most of my cookie baking occurs around the holidays. When it comes to holiday baking, peanut butter is not one of the flavors I gravitate towards. Today my selection criteria were a little different, and peanut butter sounded perfect.

The recipe I settled on, from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies, was Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ripples. They are thin, crisp cookies with a layer of peanut butter dough nestled between two chocolate layers. The cookies in the drawing that accompanies the recipe appear to have concentric circles of contrasting doughs: the bottom chocolate layer is the largest and is topped with a smaller layer of peanut butter which in turn is topped with another, smaller layer of chocolate.

The chocolate and peanut butter doughs are very simple and mix up quickly. The recipe calls for smooth peanut butter, but the only peanut butter I had on hand was the kind they grind in the grocery store, so I used that. I added a pinch of salt since there was none in the peanut butter. I was concerned that the consistency might cause some problems, but it seemed to work just fine. The flavor was great and the texture of the peanut butter layer was almost like the peanut butter in a Reese’s cup.

peanut butter and chocolate cookie doughs

Assembling the cookies takes a little time, but is not difficult. You drop a small mound of chocolate dough, then top it with a small mound of the peanut butter dough, and cap that with another little mound of chocolate. The peanut butter dough was a little crumbly, so I shaped it with my fingers rather than dropping it from a teaspoon. The recipe suggests using a fork dipped in sugar to flatten the cookie, but I quickly abandoned that approach in favor of using a small plastic spatula. The chocolate dough was very soft and the fork, even though it was sugared, kept pulling off parts of the top layer that pushed up through the tines. You could also use a small glass – but a flat surface is definitely preferable to a fork. I would make one change next time – the recipe instructs you to divide the chocolate dough in half and use equal amounts in the bottom and top layers. I followed those directions this time and as you can see in the picture above, my cookies didn’t “ripple”. To achieve the concentric circles shown in the illustration, I think you would need to use more chocolate dough in the bottom layer and only a small amount in the top layer. It would also be interesting to see what would happen if you didn’t bother to flatten the cookies before baking them. I’ll bet they would spread just the same.

ready to flatten and bake

The cookies were delicious and despite the fact that the peanut butter appears to have all but disappeared from the outside, when you bite into one of the cookies there is a distinct layer of peanut butter. Maida Heatter never lets me down.


Cerebrum said...

These look so good - I'll have to try them! Anything that bears a resemblance to Reese's goes down well in my book!

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

What wonderful looking cookies. I haven't baked cookies in such a long time, but these look worth trying. This has both of my favorites, chocolate & peanut butter! I wonder if you can use chunky peanut butter and/or chocolate chips? Hmmmmmm......

Anonymous said...

Those sound great! So many good cookies out there, and too little time to make them all. Sigh.


Stephanie said...

The hubby will love these! They'll have to go into the queue; I have a big list of things I've promised to bake him...then again, he might make an executive decision and bump them up!

Anonymous said...

These cookies look smashing. Perfect with a glass of cold milk. I bet they smelled wonderful too. :)


Cathy said...

Hi Zarah Maria - Thanks! I highly recommend the book I got the recipe from. It's out of print, but they have some copies at Jessica's Biscuit.

Hi Reid - Thanks! I think the chunky peanut butter might work. I'm not sure about the chocolate chips though - maybe the mini ones. They are very thin and fragile cookies, so I would think the chocolate chips would make them more fragile. Also, you are spooning out such a small amount of dough (about 1 level tsp) for each layer that the chips might make it rather difficult.

Hi Alice - Thanks. I agree completely!!

Hi Stephanie - Thanks! As I said above, this is such a wonderful cookie book - get a copy if you can!!

Hi Julia - Thanks! They did smell wonderful - there is nothing like the combination of butter and chocolate! Wish there was a way to record that!

Anonymous said...

hi Cathy,
I love Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies... but I have a confession to make: I've read/flipped through the book countless times, but have yet to make anything from it!
after seeing these though, I'm about to plunge right in, and make some -- I LOVE the choc-PB pairing in just about anything.
anything remotely like Reese's cups always works for me : )

Anonymous said...

oops, sorry...
that was me above.


Cathy said...

Hi Renee! While I've got a handful of favorites from the book that I make over and over, there are an awful lot that I've never tried. It was fun to try a new one. It really is a great book, though - I'm so glad you've got a copy!