SECRET SQUIRREL COOKIES ~ Brownie-Stuffed Peanut-Butter Pillows of tasty goodness




AFTER HAVING PUT TOGETHER THE POST FOR THE "CUSTOM DINNERWARE DIY"  (click HERE to learn to make your own custom dishes and dinnerware) I was left feeling that those sweet dishes were looking a bit barren.  I needed something to fill them tout de suite.


Earlier in the month, I was paying a regular visit to one of my favorite bastions of confectionery brilliance, BAKERELLA, and came across her aunt's recipe for Pillow Cookies -- get this: it's a brownie bite baked in to a chocolate chip cookie! Salivating yet?  I baked up a batch quicker than you can say "chicken-in-a-biscuit" (why?  I dunno, just felt like it), and they were divine.  Click HERE to visit Bakerella and get the recipe for yourself.


On Monday, I had the good fortune (or misfortune in the case of my diet) to come across an insanely original and to-die-for twist on the classic "Cake Cone" at Cookies And Cups:  PEANUT BUTTER CUP BROWNIE CONES!



Now, back to my empty plate conundrum:  While musing on what sweet little bonbon would grace the newly minted Secret Squirrel plates, I remembered those two delightful recipes and felt a sudden ping of inspiration (or perhaps it was just my blood sugar spiking).  Regardless, drawing on the peanut butter perfection of the Cookies and Cups recipe, and the Secret-Surprise nature of the Bakerella pillow cookies, I set about the creation of the...


 SECRET SQUIRREL PEANUT BUTTER PILLOW COOKIE RECIPE
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies your Squirrels will go Nuts for

A harmless looking, albeit gigantic peanut butter cookie

The "Secret" Revealed:  A delicious brownie center

To begin, bake up a batch of your favorite mix or from scratch Brownies.  
I used the following:

Alton Brown/Food Network recipe for Cocoa Brownies

  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.  

Note:  I like to line my pan with buttered parchment paper so that the brownies can be lifted out once they've cooled.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool.
Once brownies have cooled, remove from pan and slice into 1/2" cubes.

Next, whip up a batch of my favorite PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2/3  cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl, set aside
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until combined.  Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat to combine.  In a separate, medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk.  Add to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375
Using a standard ice-cream scoop, portion cookies in level scoopfuls on an ungreased baking sheet (you can fit 8 cookies on a sheet).  

Using your thumb and forefinger, create a deep well in the center of each dough ball.


Insert Brownie and give it a light press.


Pinch the sides of the dough up, around, and over the brownie and roll between palms to form a ball.


Roll in the bowl of sugar and place back on cookie sheet.


Bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on rack for five minutes before removing cookies from pan.







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