Now and then I invest in a new baking book to amp up my pastry skills. As a self taught baker what better way of doing so than consulting the oracles themselves. It’s time for the first Baking Lab session.
This time I decided to go for two books: Pastries by Pierre Hermé and Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxelles. I found these books via one of my favorite blogs, A Hint of Vanilla, run by pastry chef Megan Voigt.
Whenever I receive a new cook book I just can’t stop reading them. I’ll always come up with reasons to sneak away and devouring some recipes. When I read there’s a constant conversation going on in my head that sounds something like this:
– Ohh, that’s amazing!
– Waooo, I like that!
– Ohh waoo, this resembles this other thing I found in this other book!
– Ha, that’s just a fancy name for Fudge!
– Maybe I could use this part in that recipe?
– Oohh, I just have to try and combine that with that!
– That doesn’t seem difficult to make at all!
And on and on it goes. No wonder I’m so exhausted after reading for a while.
The recipe I’ll be sharing in this post is Bouchon Bakery’s Better Nutters. I mean, how can one even think of trying to resist a peanut butter cookie filled with a peanut butter frosting?! Not me!
During this premiere baking lab session I did some alterations. First I couldn’t find unsalted peanuts in the store (ok, I was lazy and didn’t go the store who I know sell them) so I used almonds and prepared them the same way. Secondly, I made a peanut butter cream cheese filling instead of a butter cream based one, simply because it’s a really delicious substitution when you are in the mood for something lighter than a butter cream.
This is a really fun and delicious cookie to make and eat. I cut them smaller since I like bite size cookies – gives you a legitimate reason to eat more than three! And you have to eat immediately after filling them, otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy cookie – oh, how absolutely boring that would be. I think homemade sandwiched cookies are highly underrated, at least in Sweden, which might have to do my passion for piping frosting/filling… My next baking lab adventure will be Bouchon Bakery’s TKO:s, a k a homemade Oreos, and yes there is a piped white chocolate filling involved. Stay tuned for that but until then – go, bake, now!
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery with some alterations. Use preferably organic ingredients.
30g/1 oz. unsalted peanut halves or almonds
210g/7.4 oz. butter
86g/3 oz. peanut butter
106g/3.7 oz. light brown sugar
1 (54g/1.9 oz.) egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
198g/6.7 oz. plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking soda (Swedish: bikarbonat)
106g/3.7 oz. oats
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325 F. Toast the peanuts or almonds on a baking tray for 10–15 minutes, until a light golden brown. Let cool and then coarsly chop.
2. Place butter and peanut butter in a bowl and cream fluffy on medium-low speed, until it has the consistency of mayonnaise.
3. Add the sugar and mix for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined for 15–30 seconds – do not overmix when the egg is added, this can cause the cookies to deflate during baking. The batter can look a bit curdled but that is totally ok.
5. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding them to the batter in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15–30 seconds after each, until just combined. Scrape the bowl to get to the dry ingredients that are settled on the bottom.
6. Add the oats and pulse to combine. Add the chopped nuts and combine.
7. Wrap the dough in a plastic bag and shape it into a block, 2,5 cm/1″ high. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, or until firm.
8. Unwrap the dough and roll it on a piece of parchment paper. To prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, cover the dough with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll the dough to a 0,5 cm/0.25″ thick sheet. If the dough has softened, chill it again.
9. With a cookie cutter, 8 cm/3.25″ or smaller, cut cookies from the dough and make sure you get even numbers. Place the rounds on a tray with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. You can store the unbaked cookies for up to 1 month in a covered container.
10. Bake the cookies in 160C/325F for 8–11 minutes (small size) or 16–18 minutes (large size) until golden brown. I used a convection oven (Swedish: varmluftsugn) and in a standard oven the baking time is a bit longer.
11. Let the cookies cool completely before filling them with the peanut butter & cream cheese filling.
Peanut Butter & Cream Cheese Filling
170g/6 oz. cream cheese
110–125g/3.8–4.4 oz. peanut butter, or to taste
1-2 tsp agave syrup, or to taste
A pinch of sea salt
1. Whip the cream cheese until fluffy.
2. Add the peanut butter and agave syrup. I suggest you take a little at a time and taste to get the right amount. Some like a strong peanut butter and sweet flavor, some find it to be too rich or too sweet.
3. Lastly add a pinch of sea salt to taste.
4. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a French star tip.
5. Make sure you have an even number of cookies lined up, turn half of them over.
6. Beginning from the center, pipe a spiral of peanut butter & cream cheese filling on each one, be careful not getting to close to the edges. Gently press the second cookie on top to make a sandwich. The cookies are best enjoyed immediately or they can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I recommend you eat and enjoy right away!