Friday, November 29, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Last Year's Post: Famous Rum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Wild Rice Salad

Those of you who follow this blog will know that this post is a rather dramatic departure from my normal posts of whole grains, fruit and veggies.  I can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many desserts I've ever posted, much less candy and cookies.  So what gives?   Well, the holidays are coming, and for some inexplicable reason that I've never been able to figure out that means you have to make lots of cookies.  I saw this idea (it's too simple to call it an actual recipe) the other day and was intrigued.  We've all seen cookies with a Hershey's kiss pressed into the top.  What makes this slightly different is that you bake the cookies in mini-muffin tins and press the candy into the top when they're still soft, so the cookie ends up wrapped around the candy.  Sort of a little mini candy tart.  Anyway, I thought it was a cute idea that was worth passing along.

The very simplest approach is to use refrigerated cookie dough, although you could also make your own.  Besides the cookie dough all you need are miniature peanut butter cups and a mini-muffin pan.

You can use any flavor of cookie dough that you want.  I found refrigerated chocolate chip, sugar, and peanut butter cookie dough in my local store.  The chocolate chip and sugar came in long tubes (also called chubs) and the peanut butter came in a flat package with pre-cut dough pieces.  I chose peanut butter because The Lawyer loves both peanut butter cookies and Reese's peanut butter cups.  All you do is cut each dough piece in half, stick them in the muffin tins, and bake until puffed (only about half the time stated on the original cookie package).

My only trauma came when I realized I had 5 minutes left before the cookies came out, which were supposed to be immediately topped with the candies.  Do you know that miniature peanut butter cups have not one, but two wrappings?  How fast can you unwrap 24 of them?  I can tell you from experience that it takes longer than you would think.  If you've ever seen the classic "I Love Lucy" episode where she's trying to wrap candies coming down an ever-faster conveyor belt you'll have a rough idea of what was going on, except I was unwrapping instead.  Those wrappers were flying everywhere.

The cookies are puffed but still quite soft.  Pushing a candy into the center of each one sort of de-puffs it.

The candies melt a little and adhere to the cookies.  At this point, the cookies were still very soft so I decided to put the whole pan in the refrigerator to let them set before trying to take them out of the pan.  I'm not sure that was the greatest idea, because the cookies sort of glued themselves into the cups - I think my non-stick spray probably lost something when refrigerated.  I resorted to using a small sharp knife that I ran carefully around the edge of each cookie to pop them out.  It worked quite well but next time I'll probably just let them cool on the counter rather than refrigerating them.

They're cute little tarts of chocolatey-peanut butter deliciousness.  And of course, you could use a different flavor of cookie dough and a different miniature candy - have fun and make your own signature combination.  This would be a great activity to do with children also.

printable recipe
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Note:  the cookies can be made with any refrigerated cookie dough or homemade cookie dough.  Also, other types of miniature candy may be used.
1 (14 oz) package Pillsbury Simply Peanut Butter cookie dough
1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures

Special equipment:  mini-muffin tin pan
 Preheat the oven to 350d.

If using the Pillsbury dough, cut each dough round in half.  If using a tube of refrigerated dough, cut into 1-1.5” slices and cut each slice into quarters.  If using homemade dough, cut into pieces that are approximately ½ ounce of dough for each cookie.

Grease the mini-muffin tin pan and place a piece of dough in each.  Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, until the cookies are puffed to the rim of the pan.  (Note that this is much less time than listed on the cookie package.) While the cookies bake, unwrap as many candies as you need to fit your muffin pan, one per cookie.

After the cookies are removed from the oven, immediately place one candy on top of each and gently press into the cookie with your finger until the top of the candy is level with the top of the cookie.  The candies will melt slightly.

Let cool in the pan, then carefully remove with a small spoon or by running a small sharp knife around the edges to pop the cookies out.


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