Ignore these Fudge Topped Peanut Butter Cookie Tarts for just a minute…
How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was a whirlwind of baking/cooking…starting with a double birthday celebration the day before Thanksgiving. Yes. I’m insane. Two completely different birthday cakes the day before I cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal. I did it though. I got it all done and the food was delish and I’m pretty sure both birthday girls were happy with their cakes. One cake was chocolate fudge, filled with the birthday girl’s favorite Whipped Cream Cream Cheese Frosting mixed with mini chocolate chips. It was frosted with the same frosting without the chips….then, she wanted it covered with a dark chocolate ganache. Yum! The other cake was a mandarin orange cake frosted and filled with a pineapple whipped cream, sprinkled with coconut and served with a mango lime puree. (Nothing like a tropical inspired cake at the end of November! :)
I wish I could have shot some of the things I made (both sweet and savory) so I could blog about them, but I barely got them all done, on time, and at the proper temperature for each course. Sooooo frustrating. But, it is nice to cook and bake freely without the pressure of getting all the shots in the right light etc, etc. If you’re a blogger and reading this, you know what I’m talking about :)
Now it’s time to kick off December baking! I’m starting with a cookie that looks like a tart, Fudge Topped Peanut Butter Cookie Tarts. I have been meaning, for a very long time, to give my Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies a shot at being made during other times of the year. I love the base cookie dough and even before the blog, I swore I would make them for more than just Halloween. I had a million ideas of ways to use that dough, but… well… it just didn’t happen. Until now.
Yep, I whipped up a batch of dough after Halloween. I decided to go with a simple combo; the peanut butter just begged for some chocolate so I went with it. I bypassed my pumpkin cookie cutter and headed straight for my scalloped cookie cutter. This shape would leave all thoughts of Halloween behind.
Then, I thought about the chocolate. Did I want to drizzle? Nope. Dip? Nah. I decided to spread a pool of dark chocolate ganache on each little “tart.” I wanted it to be kind of thick, like a chocolate tart filling. Then I needed some texture, a little excitement to bring it all together. I chopped up salty peanuts and grabbed the bag of Heath toffee chips.
Some of the cookies got peanuts, some got toffee, some got both. My favorite were the ones that had both. The peanuts were a little salty which is sooo good on top of chocolate. The toffee chips were sweet and caramelly. Both added a nice crunch.
When the cookies are first baked, they are just a little bit crispy around the edges and softer in the middle. The Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies get soft from the icing. Just like the icing, the ganache eventually makes the cookie soft…and then you get the most perfect bite. This time, I stored them in the refrigerator so the ganache would set up. For the first day or two, I thought that I could have made the ganache a little less dark, balancing it with some milk chocolate. But, I suppose it was like chili. They were better the next day and, honestly the day after that. That’s why I liked the the ones with some toffee on top. It was just enough sweetness to balance the dark ganache.
They turned out to be such a pretty cookie, now without their orange icing and jack-o-lantern faces. The sweetness factor taken down a notch, the sophistication up a notch. We loved them and were sad when they were finally gone. Fudge Topped Peanut Butter Cookie “Tarts.” Fudgy peanut buttery cookies you can sink your teeth into…wait, were we talking about Thanksgiving? I think that minute’s up…because these cookies?
yeah…kinda hard to ignore.
Fudge Topped Peanut Butter Cookie Tarts
For the cookies:
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the ganache:
- 3 Tablespoons corn syrup
- 6 ounces heavy cream
- 12 ounces dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the toppings:
- chopped peanuts
- toffee chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- With mixer on low, add in sugar, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. (I used the lowest setting of my stand mixer for this, but it can be done by hand)
- Place plastic wrap directly on top of the dough in the bowl to keep it from drying out and chill for 2 hours.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes, flouring your cookie cutter between cuts.
- Place cut out cookies onto a greased cookie sheet or on a sheet lined with a silpat or parchment.
- Bake about 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set. Time will vary widely based on your oven and the size of your cookies.
- Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes until set, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Make the ganache. In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup and heavy cream.
- Bring to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
- Spread about 2 teaspoons of ganache evenly over each cookie. I didn't measure, I just used a spoon to dollop the ganache on each cookie. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts, toffee chips or a mixture of both.
- Refrigerate cookies in a single layer on a tray to fully set the ganache. Once they're firm, you can stack them up and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- You can serve cold, or allow them to sit a room temperature for 30 minutes.The ganache will soften and get its shine back.
*I always store anything with ganache on it in the refrigerator. These cookies will last for at least a week in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container. They get softer with time and can be eaten directly from the refrigerator or you can leave them out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. They'll also be fine sitting out for a couple of hours on a dessert table. Just be careful how you stack them since the ganache will soften as it warms up.
*If you use salted butter, reduce salt to 1/4 tsp.
*You can use the ganache as soon as you make it. I used it within about 10 minutes of making it. It will get thicker as it sits, so you want to use it while it's still easy to spread. Stir as necessary while topping the cookies to loosen it up and bring back that glossy shine.
*If you like a sweeter cookie, use half dark and half milk chocolate in the ganache or use all milk.
*I gave you a full recipe of ganache which should be plenty to frost these. If you have any left over, you can store it in the refrigerator until it is firm then roll into balls for truffles, coating with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, nuts, candies, coconut, etc. If you want to reheat it so that you can pour it over something, do it gently. I would microwave it, stopping at 15 second intervals to stir until it's glossy and spreadable. You could also do this over a double boiler.
*This recipe is a half portion of the Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies. If you want to double it, just go to that recipe for cookie dough measurements.
Ganache recipe from Alton Brown
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