|#Irene Chocolate Mousse Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling|
This has not been a year for rain in due season.
Indeed, there’s been too much rain in places, not enough in others.
Abby Dodge, #BakeTogether’s organizer, was among thousands of folks inundated by rain and wind from Hurricane Irene. The storm worked its way up the eastern coast and dumped on New England.
While holed up, she announced these Double Chocolate Mousse Cookies for September’s #BakeTogether event.
As New England and other parts of the country battled water damage and mildew, other parts have hoped for rain. The South and Southwest have suffered under prolonged drought caused by the La Nina weather system.
Many crops have failed, among them peanuts. A shortage is imminent and peanut butter prices will rise. Part of the peanut shortage is due to crop failure from bad weather. The other reason is economics. Some farmers didn’t plant peanuts this year, opting instead to grow cotton whose prices were attractively high.
This news has caused a bit of alarm in our home as we both love the stuff. If you ask my husband how he likes to eat peanut butter, he’ll say, “With a spoon.” We’d rather do without coffee or tea than cut back on the legacy crop of George Washington Carver.
My family raised peanuts when I was young — not a commercial crop, but several rows each year. It was common in the rural South to do that. At harvest time, the plants were pulled from the ground and stacked around fence posts to let the peanuts dry in the sun. Once dry, the peanuts were separated from the plants and stored. They’d be eaten boiled, roasted and added to homemade candy such as peanut brittle.
In recognition of the weather, the shortage of peanuts and my family’s love of peanut butter, I made a filling using peanut butter and white chocolate, omitting the butter in the original recipe. In the cookie recipe itself, I used brown sugar instead of white because I like the molasses undertone that brown sugar brings to chocolate.
We’ll eat the cookies and hope for better days to come.
#Irene Chocolate Mousse Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling
adapted from Abby Dodge
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
For the chocolate cookies:
1 1/3 (6 oz) all purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t table salt
1/4 t baking soda
4 oz (8 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 c brown sugar (mixture of light and dark brown sugars)
1/2 c (1 1/2 oz) natural, unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
3 large eggs
3/4 t pure vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
For the peanut butter-white chocolate filling:
3 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 to 2 T natural peanut butter (we used Krema brand crunchy)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 or more cookie sheets with parchment or non-stick baking liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk until well blended.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and cocoa powder. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until well blended, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and the beater. Add the eggs, one at a time mixing until blended after each addition. Add the vanilla along with the last egg. Continue mixing on medium until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and mix until just blended, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture is well blended, about 1 minute.
Using a 2 tablespoon mini ice-cream scoop, shape the dough into balls and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are puffed and tops are cracked and look dry, about 11 to 13 minutes. When the cookies are just out from the oven, make a small, deep well in the center of the cookies using the rounded side of a 1/2 teaspoon measure or the end of a thick handled wooden spoon. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Fill the cookies and serve immediately or cover and keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month before filling and serving.
Melt the chocolate and the peanut butter in the microwave or in a medium melt bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool and slightly thickened.
Scrap the chocolate mixture into a small zip-top heavy duty plastic bag (alternately, use a pastry bag fit with a small plain tip ). Snip off a small piece of one corner and pipe the chocolate mixture into the wells of the cooled cookies. (Third option would be to spoon the mixture into the wells using tiny spoons, which is what I did.) Set aside until chocolate firms up. Serve immediately or cover and keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.