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Friday, March 27, 2015

Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies Decorated for Easter

 
I was shopping a few weeks ago and bought Easter cookie cutters for the grandchildren.  Ben and Emily have theirs but Lori let me use hers so I can make a few cookies before I give them to her. 

I've had a hankering for peanut butter cookies the last few weeks so I decided I'd make the cookies on the Kraft Canada site.  This is the same recipe that came with a little peanut butter cookie kit available late last year.  The cookie itself is nice and crisp with all that lovely taste of a traditional peanut butter cookie.  I did make a few changes to the recipe but it's basically the same. 

For the Easter egg cookies I coated them with milk and dark chocolate.  I used Royal Icing on the bunny and chick cookies because it gives a nice smooth and hard finish.
 

Of course, you can eat the cookies plain or mix up a small amount of buttercream icing and go wild with the kids.  Any way you decorate these will be fun with little kiddies helping.  


Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½  cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt 

For Decorating:
Melted milk and dark chocolate
Royal Icing

Cream the butter and peanut butter together.  Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Stir or sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add to the creamed mixture to combine.  Chill the dough for at least1 hour in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease or line with parchment as many cookie sheets as you need.  I use two cookie sheets with parchment paper and reuse as necessary.

Roll the chilled dough ¼-inch thick on a well floured surface and cut with your favourite cookie cutters.  I rolled my dough in four batches as it is still quite soft even after refrigeration.  Place cookies on prepared pans and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

These are ready to eat when cooled or you may decorate with icing or chocolate as I am going to do for Easter. 


Makes about 5 dozen cookies depending on how large or small you make them. 
 
*A little note about parchment paper.  I just love using this as it makes clean up so easy, especially if I'm making something messy.  The paper can be used over several times.  I made all these cookies using the same two pieces of paper.



Royal Icing
1⅓ cups icing sugar, sifted
1 large egg white or the equivalent of                  pasteurized egg white from a carton
½ teaspoon flavouring (vanilla, almond, etc.)
Food colourings for decorating
Water to make it a pourable consistency 

Using the whip attachment of your mixer, combine the icing sugar and the egg white in the mixer bowl on low speed until mixed. Add the flavouring. Turn the speed up to high and whip until the icing is thick and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. 

Divide the icing if using more than one colour and and using food colouring tint to desired shade.  Add a little water ½ teaspoon at a time for a thinner consistency for piping and flooding the cookies.  If you've thinned it out too much just add a little more icing sugar.  

Makes about ¾ cup of icing. 


Melting Chocolate
Melt the chocolate.  You may use any good chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.  Chocolate will scorch if melted over too high a heat.  Milk or white chocolate must be melted over very low heat as they will scorch quicker than the semi-sweet or dark.  I like to melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. You can see my  simple double boiler: bowl over simmering water.  Don't boil the water, just let it simmer.  Stir the chocolate occasionally to help with the melting process.  If you wish to temper the chocolate, use a good quality chocolate (I use chocolate bars) not chocolate chips.  Bring the temperature of the melted chocolate up to 120 degrees and then while stirring cool to at least 84 degrees.  This will give you a good hard chocolate surface that dries in just a few minutes.  Here are two good videos on chocolate tempering:  Chocolate-Dipped Anything or if you don't have a thermometer: An Easier Way to Temper Chocolate




The cookies are quite easy to make.  Cream the butter and peanut butter together; add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla and then mix in the dry ingredients.  And there you have it--cookie dough.

The dough is extremely sticky.
 
Place dough in refrigerator for at least one hour or more.

Roll and cut in shapes.  I divided the dough into 4 pieces and rolled each one separately.  I gathered up the scraps and rerolled.  You can see I'm using Lori's bunny cookie cutter on this piece of dough. 

Last batch out of the oven.  I used the same parchment sheet for all the cookies. Bake until the edges turn golden brown colour.  I have a tray of bunnies, chicks, eggs and bears. I'll use the Teddy Bears for another recipe coming up soon.

I decorated the Easter egg cookies with melted dark and milk chocolate.  Instead of using a piping bag I used sandwich bags and snipped off the corner so the chocolate (or icing) could flow out smoothly.  I outlined each cookie with dark chocolate and filled them in with milk chocolate.  When the chocolate dried I used coloured Royal Icing to add detail. 

To decorate the bunnies and chicks I outlined with Royal Icing.  Let the outline dry for a few minutes and then flood with a thinner Royal Icing.  I used a toothpick to help spread the icing into the corners.  I used the same method with the chocolate.  Once the icing is spread smooth let it set and dry before adding any detail.  I added a little pink nose and eye and a white bunny tail with a star tip.  A little drop of chocolate finished the eye.

To complete the bunny I added a few whiskers.

The chicks were decorated using the same method as the bunnies.

When you have your cookies decorated place them on a pretty plate or in a basket to serve.

The Peanut Butter Sugar Cookies look very Spring-like and Eastery.
(I know Eastery is not a word.)

Store the cookies in a covered container in a cool place. Do not leave your cookies near a sunny window.  The chocolate will melt and you'll have quite a mess on your hands.  Ask me how I know!

 Happy Easter! 

 

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