My sister-in-law Penny is the family dessert maker. She brings a wonderful array of sweets and goodies to Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner. At Christmas this year we had our usual dinner of standing rib roast at my mother-in-law's home. The roast was so large it barely fit in the oven! And we served it up with cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes and a crunchy green salad. Needless to say, we were all STUFFED. But when Penny brought out the dessert tray, I noticed we all found room to sample the treats. The hands-down favorite was a recipe she got from the Pillsbury website for Choco-Peanut Butter Cups. They were yummy, with a peanut butter cookie shell baked in a mini muffin tin, then filled with a white chocolate and peanut butter filling, topped with a milk chocolate and peanut butter filling, and finished with a crunchy topping of broken up granola bars. Heaven!
This week I decided to bring those little gems to our weekly Wednesday night dinner at church. They were a huge hit! Not a crumb left, and lots of requests for the recipe. So, I'll share it here. I've made a few small changes. First, I've swapped out chopped salted peanuts for the granola bars as the topping. I thought this dessert could use a little salty counterpoint. Second, I used dark chocolate chips (67% Cacao) instead of semi-sweet, to cut down on the sweetness just a little. Third, the recipe directions call for cutting the cookie dough log into 24 slices, then flattening out the disks of dough a bit and placing them into the mini muffin tin. I did that at first, then discovered that it was easier and more attractive to roll the dough into balls, place them in the tin, and then make a nice, neat indentation. The first cups baked up with an overlapping rim, kind of like the edge of a pie crust-- and that rim tended to brown more quickly than the interior of the cookie cup. My way, you get a neat looking little cookie cup without the extra edge, and it's more evenly baked.
Give these a try. Even though they are a tiny bit time consuming, they're easy to make make, and sooo delicious. You'll get lots of compliments on them, which of course makes the time you spend on the totally worth it!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (courtesy of Pillsbury)
16.5 oz tube of Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet, if you prefer)
3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough log into 24 equal pieces. Spray a mini muffin tin well with cooking spray. Don't skip this step, trust me on this! Roll each piece of dough into a ball, place each dough ball into an opening, and make and indentation in each*, working the indentation outward until the dough forms a cup. Bake 10-12 minutes until cups are golden brown and puffed. Set muffin tin out to cool for 5 minutes. At this point you will notice the cups no loner look like cups. After 5 minutes of resting (the cookie cups, not you!) use a the handle of a wooden spoon* to press down the middle of the cookies, making them look all nice and cup-like again. Allow the cookie cups to cool, then move them to a tray to be filled. To remove the cookie cups from the muffin tin, rotate each cup back and forth in the muffin tin a couple of times to loosen it up-- then they lift right out.
Melt white chocolate chips in a thick-bottomed sauce pan over low heat. Don't try to melt white chocolate in the microwave. It will burn and seize up. Every time. I speak from experience. When the chips are melted, stir in half (3/4 cup) of the peanut butter. Spoon the white chocolate filling into each of the cookie cups. Let the filling cool for at least 15 minutes (you can pop the whole pan into the fridge). Meanwhile chop the salted peanuts and set them aside. Then melt the dark chocolate chips (just like before) and mix with the remaining peanut butter. Spoon the dark chocolate filling over the white chocolate filling and then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Let the cookies set up for at least an hour before serving. You can chill them, but the filling isn't as creamy that way. Makes 24.
* Pampered Chef sells a nifty tool designed to go with their mini muffin tin-- it's called a mini tart shaper. You can use it to mold the unbaked dough balls into cups and later (after being washed) to press the baked dough bake into a cup shape.