Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies For Cut-Outs

Ingredients for dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
3 T cornstarch
3 cup flour

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Ingredients for the ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

* * * * * * *

Ingredients for peanut butter royal icing:
4 T smooth peanut butter to finished royal icing
1 drop brown food coloring
4 T meringue powder
scant 1/2 cup water
16 ounces powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup (optional)
few drops clear extract (optional)

Preparing the dough:
In a large bowl, beat the butter through vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Add half the sour cream, all of the cornstarch and half of the flour; beat well. Add the remaining sour cream and flour, mixing just until combined.

Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin and cut with a cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place the cut cookies on prepared sheets and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until set. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Pipe the cookies with peanut butter royal icing, using a #2 tip.

* * * * * *

Preparing the ganache:
Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until hot and steamy. Tiny bubbles will appear around the edges. Pour over the chocolate and let sit 5 minutes.

Stir the mixture until combined, but do not over stir, or the mixture will look "bubbly." Gently stir in the vanilla. Let the ganache sit until it has cooled and thickened.

* * * * * *

Preparing the royal icing:
Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.

Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.

Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired.

Increase speed to medium-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling. Do not overbeat.

Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup.


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