I’ll admit it– I am a chocolate snob. And I’m perfectly fine with that. If I’m eating chocolate out of hand, it’s definitely going to be a good quality bar or truffle or candy. And for baking? It’s going to be Guittard, TCHO, or Valrhona, because the quality of your chocolate makes a big difference in the final product. Hershey’s? …never gonna happen. Sorry, it’s akin to chalk in the chocolate world, as far as I’m concerned. But I learned this week that there’s a time and place even for Hershey’s; I was wrong in rushing to dismiss it.
When we got to these Peanut Butter Blossoms on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule (eek, only 3 more recipes from Baked Occasions!), I heaved a deep sigh because who else makes kiss-shaped chocolates but Hershey’s? At first I was adamant that I wouldn’t use Hershey’s Kisses; instead I would press chocolate discs into the cookies, or make them thumbprint-style filled with ganache. And then I thought, weeelll, what if I just make a few with Hershey’s Kisses? The crackly edges of the cookies in the book’s “12 Days of Cookies” photo did look pretty enticing… so I reluctantly purchased a bag of Kisses with the intention of just using a handful. To inject some chocolate into the rest of the batch, I decided to mix Guittard micro chocolate chips into the cookie dough (kind meta, no?), which I figured would be sufficient.
The cookie dough came together very easily. I creamed together the butter and shortening, added peanut butter, then granulated and dark brown sugars to make a semi-fluffy base. (The recipe calls for natural peanut butter, but I used regular creamy Skippy, which worked just fine.) In went the egg, vanilla, and a little milk, followed by the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in two additions. Finally, I added about ¾ cup (125g) of the micro chocolate chips and mixed just until they were evenly incorporated. The dough was soft enough that it would be difficult to roll, so I stuck it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Once it was of a rollable consistency, I used a tablespoon-sized spring-loaded scoop to portion the dough, then rolled the scoops into balls and refrigerated them for 90 minutes. The dough was still rather oily, so I was a little worried that the cookies would bake up funny, but it was perfectly fine. The final step is rolling the dough balls in sparkly Demerara sugar, which I thought was a really nice touch in the recipe.
I baked the first batch of cookies for 8 minutes, but the interiors were just a touch underdone, so I added another minute or so for the second batch. Then the moment of truth: adding the Hershey’s Kisses. I had unwrapped just a few, but when I pressed them into a handful of cookies, I liked the look of them so much that I quickly unwrapped a bunch more and squashed them onto the rest of the tray. I loved how the soft centers gave way and the exterior edges cracked open! I did leave the second tray naked because I didn’t have enough Kisses, and I liked the look of these as well with their smalls cracks that had already developed in the oven.
But guys– the best part, the thing I didn’t anticipate, was that the Hershey’s Kisses would completely soften into melty chocolate that was lovely to bite into! They kept their kiss shape, but not the hard, chalky texture. Second best thing: The crunch of the Demerara sugar against the soft, chewy interior of the cookie. And I highly recommend adding chocolate chips… obviously. I was surprised at how much I loved these– 100% awesomeness.
Although these are billed as a holiday cookie recipe in the book, I would make Peanut Butter Blossoms all year round– any chocolate-peanut butter lover will flip for them. Click on the link right above to take you to the recipe, which lives at Baked Sunday Mornings, and see how my fellow blogging bakers fared with them too. 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2017.