Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

I am going to relax today as I begin a week-long vacation.  This will be my first whole week off since I began a new job in November 2010.  In reflection, 2011 was truly one of the most satisfying years of my life.  Though it was somewhat stressful initially learning a new job after fourteen years at the previous one, I have not looked back once regretting my decision.

My new career choice has filled me with such satisfaction and a new found compassion for my fellow human beings and an empathy for people, most of the time by no choice of their own, are dealing with such difficult lives.  Prior to taking my new job I had no idea what real suffering was all about.  I am so glad I can be a small part of a healing process for people who face huge challenges.

I give you this recipe for yummy chocolate peanut butter cookies that are really over the top if you're a peanut butter cup lover (I am)!  And I leave you with hopes that you have a wonderful New Year filled with happiness, laughter, time with your families, however you may define the word, and the ability to do what you love in life.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. coarse salt
¾ stick (6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk
2 cups coarsely chopped peanut butter cups, divided

 Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Blend until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add in 1½ cups of the chopped peanut butter cups and fold in gently with a spatula.
Use a large dough scoop (about 3 tablespoons) to drop rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing 2-3 inches apart. Gently press a few pieces of the reserved peanut butter cups into the top of each of the dough balls. Bake 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. (The cookies may seem too soft immediately after coming out of the oven but they will set as they cool. You don’t want to overbake them.) Let cool on the baking sheets about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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