Monday, February 10, 2014

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms - made dough February 1, 2014 from I Am Baker
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 Hallmark's Cupid's holiday to Valentine-themed treats. And by Valentine, I mean heart shapes and red and pink up the wazoo, fit to take to your child's school party, your company Valentine potluck (does anyone actually have those?) and, by Friday, even something for a romantic dinner for two.
An easy start is red velvet so get that bottle of red food color ready. How many versions of red velvet baked goods can I make over the years? I don't know; I'm still in discovery mode. Which continues with this red velvet twist on peanut butter blossoms or, as initially called on my blog with my favorite recipe for them, 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.
1 bag Hershey's Kisses (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
1 egg
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
pinch salt
1/4 cup red sanding sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (only if baking immediately).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Shape dough into 1" balls. If desired, chill for at least 1 hour. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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