Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dark Chocolate Creamy Peanut Butter Blossoms

When most people write that they were 'born to bake' or 'born to cook,' they usually mean that there was a serious cook in the household that guided them on their way from a young age.  I love reading anecdotes about people who learned how to make Christmas cookies by their mother's or grandmother's side.  However, the main sugary treats I recall baking at home were:

1. Chocolate chip or chocolate chocolate chip cookies made from a mix or from a sliced log
2. Golden cake with chocolate frosting (NEVER chocolate cake with white frosting) from a box and from a spreadable tub, respectively
2. Blueberry muffins from a mix
3. Pouring chocolate pudding into a graham cracker pre-made crust to make pie

That was pretty much the rotation, and even then, using these items was quite rare.  I remember watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the cartoon version) when it was aired for the first time around Christmas and seeing incessant advertisements for Pillsbury sugar dough 'slice' mix, which you could cut into shapes to make angels, and there was great reluctance in my household to reify sugar in such a manner. I guess that's why I ended up taking a class called 'Animals: Realms of Power' in graduate school and ate a lot of snack cakes while doing so.

I also remember once begging to make some really decadent cookies when my Brownie troop had a 'bake-off' contest, and my mother insisting on making a low-sugar variety, much to my displeasure.  Shockingly, I lost to a girl who made something studded with M&Ms and laced with chocolate.

Needless to say, when I was growing up, I never made these classic Christmas treats--peanut butter blossoms.

I used the recipe from the Hershey's website but I modified several things, and other than the kisses, I didn't use Hershey's products.

Dark Chocolate Creamy Peanut Butter Blossoms

--makes 24 large cookies--

1/2 cup butter (I used salted, but I am a salt-o-holic when it comes to nuts)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 beaten, large egg
2 tablespoons milk (I used skim, because that's what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

24 unwrapped dark chocolate Hershey's kisses (or more or less, depending on how you size your cookies)

1. Preheat the oven to 375F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Cream the butter, peanut butter, and two sugars together.  Gradually incorporate the egg, milk, and vanilla.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.  Incorporate the dry and the wet mixture until dough is formed.
4. Scoop out dough into approximately 1-inch balls.  Do not flatten.  Bake for 8-12 minutes until dough is slightly browning and 'crackling.'  Press kisses immediately into the center of the cookie upon extracting from the oven.


  1. I didn't spend time in the kitchen with my mom and I love to be in the kitchen learnt,tasting, cooking and baking. It does not feel like Christmas without the peanut butter blossom. Love the dark chocolate kiss

  2. My mom enjoyed baking but didn't do it often and I never had any interest in it as a child. My grandmother was the baker, I was just happy to eat :). I'm making up for some lost time now, as I seem to be the primary family baker for most occasions.
    Love the cookies, haven't done any blossoms either. Maybe it's regional thing, but until I started baking I had no idea that such a thing existed. Definitely isn't a Christmas cookie in my family. Wish it had been now :).

  3. @Adam--you would love these! Seriously, they are so easy to make and look very pretty with zero effort (since like me, you don't have an extensive 'wardrobe' of nine million cookie cutters and such). And of course, the peanut butter and chocolate combination is popular with everyone--and you can, of course, always use white and milk chocolate for some of them to have plenty of variety during a party...

  4. @MD--hah! Well, I can see how that name for the cookies might also be appropriate...

  5. My only memory of childhood baking is that my mom would make sugar cookies. After she rolled out the sugar cookie dough, she would let me cut them out with our two cutters, the round one and the one shaped like a camel. At some point, I would put my hand down flat on the dough and she would trace around it, so there would be one hand-shaped cookie. One time, I decided I wanted a foot cookie, but that was a more laborious process as it involved tracing my foot on a piece of paper and then cutting around the foot-shaped paper. That was my first lesson in food hygiene.