Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Dsc01645 Many Americans look forward to the arrival of March.  For some, it marks the beginning of spring, longer days, and warmer weather.  Others cannot wait for some of the great NCAA Basketball rivalries to face off during March Madness (let’s not talk about Duke’s performance last night, O.K.?)   But anybody with a sweet tooth simply thinks of March as the month when Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and Samoas (a.k.a. Caramel deLites) are in season.  Yes, it’s Girl Scout Cookie time again!

When I was in Brownies and Girl Scouts, we either sold our cookies door to door around the neighborhood, or we sent our order forms into work with our parents.  I’ll never forget my dad’s co-worker, Mr. Stringer, who bought 18 boxes and qualified me to win some sort of a prize (which at the time was of the utmost importance, but today I haven’t the slightest recollection as to what I won).  Our neighbors would simply wait for a knock at their door, place their orders, and then 3 weeks later I would deliver the goodies in my little red wagon.  Today, the cookie-selling process is different, I assume due to safety concerns or the growing number of gated communities.  The Girl Scouts, accompanied by adults, set up their cookie shop "lemonade stand-style" outside of the local grocery store.  The problem here is that very few, if any, people purchase their cookies on the way into the store, but on the way out, their hands are full, or they forget about the cookies in a rush to get home.  O.K., so maybe that only happens with me, as in when I went to the store yesterday.

Yes, I forgot the Tagalongs, the chocolate-covered peanut butter cookies, which taste even better after sitting in the freezer for a few hours.  So, I did the next best thing and made my own cookies with the same classic flavor combination.  While they are not exactly the same, and I haven’t tried them frozen, they will certainly curb any chocolate-peanut butter cravings until the next grocery store trip, when you can be sure I will buy from the Girl Scouts on my way in!  Here are my tips for making these sweet sandwiches:

  • The sandwich cookies will keep for 2-3 days.  Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • The milk-chocolate peanut butter filling can be prepared one day in advance.  Store it tightly covered in the refrigerator.
  • If you don’t have parchment paper, then just bake the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • The better the quality of your chocolate, the better your cookies are going to taste.  I recommend brands like Lindt, Perugina, Guittard, or Ghirardelli, which can be purchased in bulk at Trader Joe’s at a very reasonable price.  They also have bags of milk chocolate chips for the cookie dough.
  • You can use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy for both the dough and the filling.  The filling won’t be quite as easy to spread, but the result will be very similar.  Do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground peanut butter as the consistency doesn’t work well for baking.
  • For uniform cookies, use a mini ice cream scoop for portioning dough.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Makes about 20 sandwiches

Ingredients:

For cookie dough

1 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powderDsc01641

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/3 cups milk chocolate chips

Filling

3 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons heavy cream

Dsc01643 Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, and butter to combine.

Add the peanut butter and beat until creamy.  Gradually beat in the oil and vanilla, and then add the egg.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop the cookies by level tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake the cookies until puffed and golden, 10-12 minutes.  Cool slightly, and then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Make filling:  Place the chocolate, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate mixture and stir until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Chill until the filling is thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.

Spread about 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling on the flat side of one cookie.  Top with a second cookie, forming a sandwich.  Repeat with the remaining filling and cookies.

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