Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Peanut-Butter Pillows

I had a dream, a terrible dream, in which every one of my colleagues went on a detox diet.

I woke with the remnants of a scream in my throat, thrashed my way out of the twisted sheets and went straight to make something chockablock with as much fat and sugar as I could find. Maida Heatter’s Peanut-Butter Pillows seemed just the thing to stabilise my universe.

Her recipe would make about 16 filled cookies, she said. Well, that wouldn’t do for force-feeding my workplace out of any consideration of diets, so I doubled everything.

Adapted from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies, pp 142–3
380g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
½ teaspoon salt
230g unsalted butter
260g smooth (not chunky) peanut butter
200g raw or white sugar
170g light corn syrup (I used glucose syrup)
2 tablespoons milk
an additional cup or so of peanut butter for filling
I added about 50g roughly chopped dark chocolate

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. Cream the butter. Add the peanut butter and sugar and beat thoroughly. Beat in the syrup and the milk. On low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula and beating only until smooth.

Turn out the dough, knead it briefly and then form it into an even log about 20cm long and 5cm in diameter. Wrap the dough in clingwrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line trays with baking paper.

With a sharp knife, cut slices 5mm thick and place them 3cm apart on the trays – they spread quite a bit. My dough was still fairly soft and lost its roundness as I sliced it, but this is magical self-healing dough, and the most messy, oval, cracked biscuit sorted itself out in the cooking – not that these are exactly the epitome of elegance, they’re more your hearty gobstopper variety of biscuit.

Place a teaspooned blob of the additional peanut butter in the centre of each round, flattening it slightly to leave a 1cm border. Still enmeshed in my nightmare, I extended a chopped bit of dark chocolate to each, as garlic to a vampire.

Slice the remaining dough and place the rounds over one of the peanut-butter-topped biscuits. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the dough to soften slightly. Then seal the edges by pressing them lightly with a fork. Don’t worry about slight cracks in the tops – all that will happen is that peanut butter (and chocolate) will glimmer shinily through them, and since when was that a bad thing?

Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Let the biscuits stand on the trays for about a minute. Then, with a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool.

And they were good, all crunchy and buttery and salty and sweet. There was no stopping at just one, or three. I stand by the chocolate, too.

Maida must have been making dinner-plate sized ones (perhaps to better allow for the pillow mound of peanut butter, which I didn’t achieve – more of a flattish layer in mine) to get only 16 out of one quantity – I got about 60. Too many, in fact, for the kitchen biscuit jar, but my colleagues were quick to resolve that issue.

1 comment:

  1. 60 peanut butter pillows is surely a delicious road to disaster. I'm jealous and terrified all at once.