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Sweet and Salty Heaven

by Samantha Bailey

As we turn a new leaf over into the second half of the spring semester, I wanted to leave you all with a decadent and indulgent recipe this week: A sweet and salty variety that will be sure to satisfy your taste buds.

These cookies are Gourmet Bailey’s take on a classic Peanut Butter Blossom. Instead of having a Hershey Kiss fill the center of this cookie, there is a mini Reese’s Cup in the middle. The Reese’s-filled center gives that extra oomph of saltiness to the cookie. Now onto the recipe.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • ½ creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk (regular works also)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup white sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra to roll the cookies in
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ salt
  • 1 party pack mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Like most cookie recipes, you should start out by whipping the butter and peanut butter together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. This should take about two minutes.

Once the butter and peanut butter are mixed together and have created an airy texture, it’s time to add the sugars. On a low to medium speed, add the white and light brown sugar mixture until combined well. It may be easier to use pre-measured packed brown sugar and crumble it into the bowl so that it mixes more thoroughly with everything.

Now you’re going to add the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the egg in and allow it to mix well. Once finished, add the vanilla and milk and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. Extra vanilla can be added if desired.

When done mixing the wet ingredients together, work on the flour mixture. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add the mixture in increments slowly on low speed until combined well. The dough should be relatively soft and a bit sticky since this helps with the sugar sticking on the outside of the dough balls.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

Dough balls prepped for baking.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

Now, it’s time to form the dough balls. Take one-and-a-half to two tablespoons worth of dough depending on your preferred cookie size and begin to form round balls in your hands. Take as many parchment cookie sheets as needed and spread out your dough balls at least two inches apart from each other.

After you’ve completed the rolling and placement of all of the dough balls, take the balls and roll them in the two tablespoons of extra white sugar until fully coated and place them back on the cookie sheet. This could be done while rolling the balls but I always find it easier to do it after you’ve done the rolling.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

Dough balls coated with white sugar.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

The cookies will bake for eight to 10 minutes in the oven. I suggest turning on your convection setting if you have one. The convection setting is a giant fan that helps hot air circulate throughout the oven instead of having heat coming down from the top. I always find that it cooks things more evenly because the hot air is continuously moving throughout the bake.

While the cookies are baking, begin to unwrap the Reese’s cups. I suggest counting how many cookies you’re making before you put them in the oven. This way, you can put aside how many cups you’ll need and save yourself from any extra work. Put aside all the unwrapped cups in a bowl so you have them prepped for when the cookies come out of the oven.

When the cookies are done, they’ll be cracked at the top but very soft in the middle. Right after your timer dings and you remove your cookies from the oven, grab your cups and begin placing them. Take each cup and try your best to place them flat down so they aren’t crooked.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

A batch of Peanut Butter Blossoms.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

As you’re placing the cup, the center of the cookie will feel really soft and almost raw. Not to worry, however, they are cooked. After you’ve done this to every cookie on the sheet, take your next batch of cookies and put them in the oven.

While those are baking, transfer the completed peanut butter blossoms to a wire rack to cool. Repeat this order of actions as many times as necessary.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

Cookies placed on wire rack after baking.
Photo courtesy of Samantha Bailey

These cookies take a long time to cool at room temperature. You can help speed the process along by opening a window and fanning cool air on them. They will still however take at least three hours to cool down before ready to transfer.

This recipe is perfect for all the peanut butter addicts in your life. It’s rather easy to make and is the perfect blend of sweet and salty that can be made any time of year. However you plan on spending your spring break, make sure to practice some self-care by making a batch of Gourmet Bailey’s famous cookies. Until the next bite.

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