My husband is a teacher, and today is back to school day for him, just like it is for his students. Won't somebody think of the teachers?
I will! Since my husband really likes peanut butter (my D&D cupcakes were peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting), I decided to surprise him with some peanut butter cookies. Then, in a moment of serendipity, I found a bag of peanut butter candy melts that had been shoved into the back of the cupboard. And so the peanut butter surprise cookies, peanut butter cookies with a hot, gooey peanut butter center, were born. They're a perfect after school snack, or a treat in a packed lunch.
Because these cookies have candy melts in their centers, it would be easy to substitute in other flavors for a teacher or student who's not a peanut butter fanatic. Use chocolate candy melts, and you've got inside out peanut butter cup cookies. They might even be able to accommodate some kind of jelly.
Step 1: What You Will Need
I normally don't like using other people's recipes in my Instructables, but I can't dodge it this time, because the special texture of this cookie dough is central to the cookies being easy to shape around the candy melts. The recipe comes from Allrecipes.com, and it was posted by P.L. Weiss. You can find it here. Without this recipe, I don't think these cookies would have been possible, so props to her -- and her boyfriend Joey.
Because I'm a baker, I can't resist changing recipes just a little bit. This one I changed to make it non-dairy, since I'm lactose intolerant and I plan to eat these cookies, too. :) I included the original dairy ingredients, as well as my changes.
Use high quality peanut butter, if you can. Because the peanut butter is such a big part of the flavor of these cookies, the better the peanut flavor in the peanut butter, the better the cookies will taste.
Here's the ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk (or water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag candy melts
Step 2: Mix Up the Dough
Start with the peanut butter, the margarine (or butter), the white sugar, and the brown sugar together in a bowl, and mix them together.
Now add the egg, milk (or water), and the vanilla one at a time. Mix in each ingredient before you add the next one.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, the baking powder and the salt and mix it up so that the baking powder and salt are really mixed in, then add it, bit by bit, to the peanut butter mixture. Again, after each bit you add, mix it in and scrape down the bowl to make sure you don't get any little flour pockets anywhere.
You can chill the dough if you want to, but I didn't have the time, and my cookies turned out fine, no spreading.
Step 3: Shape the Cookies
I know what you're doing right now.
You're looking down at the dough in the bowl and saying "Seriously?" and "You've got to be kidding." and "I'll just add a little more flour..."
STOP! Back AWAY from the flour. I know that the dough looks like glorified batter. It's supposed to look that way. The softness of the dough is what makes it so easy to shape around the candy melt. And you're reading this and looking at your dough and saying 'Yeah, but she can't mean that it should be as gooey as this...' Yes I do. I totally do.
Okay, now you can get some flour, but only enough to sprinkle over the surface of the dough and flour your hands. You'll find that with a little flour sprinkled on its surface, the dough is very easy to roll and shape. If it starts getting sticky, re-flour your hands and sprinkle the dough with a little more flour.
With floured hands, take a wad of dough, however much you want for your cookies, and roll it into a ball. Flatten that ball just a little bit, and press a candy melt into the center, kinda like making cookies with chocolate kisses. Depending on how much 'surprise' you want in your cookies, you can add two or even three candy melts. Go crazy with it! I only had half a bag, so I had to stretch them out.
To cover the candy melt, shape and pinch the edges of the dough around and over it, and twist them a bit to seal them up, then flip the cookie over. Dip a fork in some flour and press it into the top.
Step 4: Bake and Enjoy!
Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or so. It might take more or less time with your oven. Check every now and again, and pull them out when their edges look a tiny bit brown.
Now stare at them on your counter for hours while you wait for the school day to end so your husband comes home. Try to have more willpower than I did. :)
These cookies are best eaten warm, so when you're ready to serve them, you can pop them into a warmed oven for a few minutes, or the microwave.