Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe with Salted Peanut Caramel
I promised a bunch of holiday-friendly recipes this month, and this one is a doozy! Peanut butter cookies, filled with salted peanut caramel—do those sound as good to you as they do to me?
The recipe is from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet, who is one of America’s best bakers. Her name might not be on the edge of your tongue, but she’s been quietly rolling doughs, mixing up batters, and baking off custards in this book, which is an encyclopedic authority on baking that tips the scales in both the breadth of recipes, and the actual weight itself.
And I thought my soul was a bit weighty.
When I was asked a few months ago to write a quote for the book jacket, I rifled through the preview pages, bookmarking a slew of recipes I plan to make.
The classics, often with a tasty twist, are well-represented here; Chocolate Velvet Poundcake, Lemon Bars (which are next on my list), and Chocolate Toffee Scones, are just a few. When I got my copy last week, I loved that the more challenging recipes have plenty of full-color photos, showing making and draping feather-light tuiles, rolling out a buttery slab of puff pastry, and crystal-clear shots of what yeasted breads look like each step of the bubbly way.
There’s a misconception that you can’t get peanut butter in Paris, which isn’t quite true. Most ethnic stores carry certain brands and even the supermarkets, like my local Franprix, have started carrying jars of Skippy. The crunchy organic stuff, however, is still playing hard-to-get and it gets valuable real estate in my luggage on overseas trips. (Although I’m not a fan of excess plastic packaging, I appreciate those plastic jars and rest much better on the plane knowing that my clothing down in cargo won’t arrive slathered in peanut butter. And believe me, thanks to my Yankee thrift, that plastic jar gets re-used over and over and over again.)
This recipe takes Peanut Butter Cookies to the next level, with a puddle of gooey peanuty caramel filling the cookies. I had some crème fraîche in my fridge, which I used. But for you ‘substitutors’ out there, it was a bit too tangy, even for my taste. So I recommend sticking right up close to the ingredients that she calls for, including using regular smooth peanut butter, rather than the natural stuff. Otherwise the batter and the cookies will be dry and crumbly. Which doesn’t bother me in the least, since I can hoard my natural peanut butter for snack-time and not share it with anyone else.
Cindy advises that you’ll likely have some of the filling leftover, and she was right; I had what looked like twice as much filling as necessary. So next time, I’m going to try making half a batch of the peanut caramel, although if you’re anything like me, I don’t think you’ll have a hard time figuring out what to do with it. It would make a scrumptious sauce for pouring over ice cream or as a dynamite glaze for a banana cake or muffins. I would say one could just drink it up, but that would make me a glutton for salted peanut caramel punishment, wouldn’t it? Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing, come to think of it.