Monday, June 16, 2014

Peanut butter s'mores cookies

This past weekend, I was up camping at Lassen Volcanic National Park. I had no idea I lived so close to an active volcano and was really excited to climb. Lassen Peak exploded in 1915 (quite recent for a volcano) and during this time of year was still covered in snow. The view from the top was very pretty, but it was the climb up Cinder Cone that made me actually go "YUP. VOLCANO." It's really hard to put into words (and impossible to capture it all on camera) how different and alien-like Cinder Cone was and was really worth very painful step up that steep slope.

I'd definitely recommend the trek up to Lassen for any Californians nearby. It was an awesome trip, filled with beautiful views, challenging (but rewarding) hikes up the volcanic peaks, and some good old campfire times with my friends - which, of course, means s'mores. 

For this camping trip, I decided to spice up the s'mores a little and sandwich a bit of peanut butter cookie dough, following this blog post that I found. It's very easy - simply mixing peanut butter with sugar and flour (no eggs) and spooning it on top of your perfectly roasted marshmallow for an extra delicious campfire treat. 

They were a big hit, except that I have no photographic evidence of these tasty s'mores because it was dark out by the time we were campfiring it up. I was, however, left with a bunch of leftover s'more supplies. Not a problem  - it just meant I had my next inspiration (and ingredients) for baking!

I decided to make a cookie version of the s'mores, inspired by a recipe I found here. The peanut butter cookie acts as a base and is topped with a slightly melted marshmallow, chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. Essentially, it's a deconstructed s'more perched on a bed of peanut butter goodness. 

The peanut butter cookie recipe was really easy to follow. The dough is quite soft though (the taste and texture reminded me of the inside of a Reese's cup), so it needs some chilling before it can be handled. The marshmallows go on top two minutes before the end of baking, so they can melt slightly to stick to the cookie. The cookies will come out seemingly underbaked and soft, but they will firm up. Lastly, melted chocolate and crushed graham crackers round out the yummy s'more cookie. 

If you can't go camping, making these cookies is definitely the next best thing. :)

Peanut butter s'more cookies (makes 2 dozen)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
  • ½ cup (100 g) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 g) white sugar
  • ¾ cup (194 g) creamy peanut butter 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ cup (156 g) all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 12 large marshmallows, cut in halves
  • ½ cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • Milk (if needed)
  • 2 graham crackers, crushed to crumbs
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on medium speed until smooth. 
  2. Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and continue mixing until combined. 
  3. Add baking soda, flour, and salt and mix on low speed until just combined (do not overmix). 
  4. Chill dough in fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350F. Form dough into 1.5 Tbsp balls and place on lined cookie sheets. 
  6. Bake for 7 minutes. Pull cookies out of oven and top quickly with halved marshmallows, pressing gently to make them stick. Put back into the oven for an additional 3-4 minutes. 
  7. Let cookies cool for a few minutes (they will appear underbaked and soft). 
  8. Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave (30 second intervals) until chocolate is melted and can be easily spread. Stir in some milk or cream, if needed, to reach desired consistency. 
  9. Top each cookie with about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle the tops with the crushed graham crackers. 
  10. Enjoy!

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