Did you know Valentine's Day is one of the easiest occasions to decorate baked goods for? I don't like to decorate my food and I'm not good at it but V-day is the one "holiday" I find easy to bake sweets apropos for the occasion. All you need is a heart-shaped cookie cutter, red food color, Valentine-colored candies and sprinkles, and chocolate hearts. Seriously. To prove it to you, I'm going to devote the next few baking posts leading up to
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Kisses. You can trot out the Valentine's Day theme with the red velvet version and literally top it off with hearts - Dove's milk chocolate hearts, that is. Remember, it's February. You can't get too schmaltzy with too many hearts.
I enjoyed the taste and texture of this version. It wasn't as peanut buttery as the original version which was okay by me as I like the added chocolate punch. I like eating this cookie best when it's just barely lukewarm as by then the cookie has cooled enough for the texture and flavor to be optimal but the chocolate heart is still soft and melt-y when you bite into it. If you're serving this for any type of Valentine's Day-related occasion, this is a fun cookie to make....and eat.
(substitute chocolate hearts if you wish)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon red gel food coloring (I used Schilling red food coloring)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup red sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (only if baking immediately).
- Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar in stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and add egg, milk, vanilla and red food coloring. Mix for about 30 seconds to incorporate, then increase speed to medium high and blend until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, sift cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
- Shape dough into 1" balls. If desired, chill for at least 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F.
- Pour red sanding sugar into shallow bowl. Roll dough balls in sanding sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. While cookies are baking, unwrap Hershey Kisses or heart-shaped Dove chocolates. When cookies are done, remove from oven and immediately place Hershey Kiss or Dove heart in the center of each cookie. Cool to room temperature.