The Litchfield County area of Connecticut is beautiful, and I happen to have spent a lot of time there this winter and spring for 2 reasons; 1) it’s where I ride. Although it’s always a full-day event for me as it’s about an hour an 10 minutes drive to get there, it’s worth it for the amazing trainer I have. She won the title of National Reigning Horse Association’s Rookie Professional World Championship in 2008 at the age of 42 only two years after she started training for it, or even riding western for that matter (she was an English hunter jumper prior to the switch), and 2) it’s where my never-ending hunt for the perfect farm has taken me to, so I am constantly searching the latest real estate listing in the area.
But I digress.
There is a terrific bakery in the small town of Kent called the Millstone Cafe and Bakery. They always have the most delicious peanut butter sandwich cookies, and inevitably I end up in there for a cup of coffee and one of those cookies for the ride home. I’m not normally a huge fan of peanut butter cookies, but the addition of the peanut buttery/buttercreamy filling really made the difference for me. I decided I needed to try and replicate them.
I came across a few recipes in my internet searching, but the one on We are Not Martha that was adapted from Tom Collicchio’s ‘Wichcraft cookbook. Being a huge Tom and Top Chef fan, I decided this one looked pretty good to me. I did make a few changes from their recipe in the icing. I wanted more of a peanut buttercream icing so I reduced the amount of peanut butter and increased the amount of butter. Also, when a recipe doesn’t specify light or dark brown sugar but just calls for “brown sugar”, I’ll think about it a bit – whether the recipe can stand up to the stronger taste of dark brown or needs the more delicate light brown – and usually end up using about 1/2 of each combined together and call it a day, which is what I did for this recipe.
No let me say right now that I made a double recipe of these cookies and cut them with a 3″ cutter. At that size they truly made a meal. When I make them again I will probably use something closer to a 1-1/2″ cutter so you can actually eat one in a sitting and not have to stage it throughout the day. I am embarrassed to say that I ate more than my fair share of this batch. Also, the toasted oats are the KEY to this cookie and you do not want to miss this step. It’s one of those cooking “aha moments” when you wonder why you’ve never seen a recipe that calls for it or thought of it yourself because it tastes so amazing and adds so much more flavor to the cookie.
I also forgot to photograph most of the steps in this process, which goes to show how much I really was taking a blogging vacation. None of the steps are hard, but if you want good photos click the link to the blog I adapted the recipe from – she’s got some good photos.
Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
(makes 12 or more, depending on the size you make – see note above)
- 1/2 C (1 stick) plus 4 T butter, room temperature
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 recipe for peanut butter filling (below)
(Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the 4 T of butter. When it’s melted, pour in the oats and stir for about 5-7 minutes, until browned and toasted. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and when the oats are done toasting, pour them on the parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine 1 stick butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with the paddle attachment. Add peanut butter and continue mixing until well-combined. And delicious looking. Now, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add in the oats, too, and combine. But don’t mix too much or the oats will break.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and put another piece of parchment paper over the top. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin, until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and even. Slide the dough onto the back of a cookie sheet and stick in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
When the dough is done chilling, place it on the counter and take the top sheet of parchment paper off. Using a 2-inch round (or smaller; see note above) cookie cutter (or biscuit cutter), cut an even number of cookies out of your dough. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and place cookies about 1 inch apart on sheets. You can re-roll the scraps once, refrigerate the dough again, and cut out some more cookies with the scrap dough as well.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, at 350 degrees. Transfer the cookies to wire racks so they can cool completely. Note that these cookies are very delicate when they are hot so handle them with care. They do get a little easier to handle once they cool off.
Peanut Butter Filling:
Fill a pastry bag (or ziplock bag with the corner tip cut) with the peanut butter filling. Flip every other cookie over and fill the cookies with the bottom facing up. Put the other cookie on top and admire the beautiful sandwich you have created.
I found that because of the butter in the icing that these cookies were best kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but take them out of the fridge 5 or 10 minutes before serving.