The holidays are here! Are you in full-on holiday baking crazy mode? Me too!
I opened up the latest issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray and to find a feature about kitchen tools that are necessary for holiday cooking. At first I was surprised that they included the cookie press. I had received one as a gift and it sat in my cupboard unused for 3 years. For whatever reason, despite all the baking I do, I never really had the temptation to break it out. But it’s inclusion in this article piqued my curiousity.
After trying it, I now understand why it’s a necessity for the holidays. You can make sooo many cookies so fast and every single one comes out looking perfect. It’s a Christmas miracle!
For my cookie press’s inaugural run, I decided to go with this recipe for Melt in Your Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies from Allrecipes. How can you go wrong with a recipe that has a name like that? They were great on their own, but adding chocolate peanut butter ganache to make sandwich cookies made them even better!
Get the cookie recipe at Allrecipes. Baking tips as well as the ganache recipe can be found after the break!
You can get yourself a cookie press like mine at Crate & Barrel (though, as mentioned mine sat around for 3 years, so I have their older model :-P).
modified from Elinor Klivan’s Cupcakes! p.44
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups chopped chocolate (I used a mix of milk & bittersweet)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
Add the heavy whipping cream and butter to a double boiler and gently heat until the mixture is hot and bubbling slightly at the edges, but not boiling. Take it off the heat and add the milk chocolate chips in an even layer; let sit for 3-5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla and whisk again.
To assemble cookie sandwiches: If necessary, let the ganache sit for a few minutes until it thickens a little, then apply about a teaspoon of ganache to each cookie. If the ganache is too thin, let it it sit for a minute, then before the ganache completely sets, top it with another cookie.
Note: If you have leftover ganache after assembling all of your cookies, you can always refrigerate it and make yourself some cpb truffles! You can find detailed instructions on this technique here.
Here are some tips & minor changes I made to the recipe:
- Used margarine instead of shortening.
- Added about 2 Tbsp extra flour to help ensure that my cookies wouldn’t spread and the designs would stay intact.
- Made a ganache filling so I could make adorable little sandwich cookies (see recipe above).
- Baked my cookies for 9 min so they would stay soft (not 12, as directed).
- Next time I will make sure to have some sanding sugar or festive sprinkles on hand.
- If you decide to refrigerate some of your dough to save for letter, it’s better to let it come to room temperature first to ensure that the designs come out as they’re supposed to. Otherwise bits of the dough can get stuck in the stencils.