I didn’t dress up for Halloween this year. In fact, the holiday went relatively unobserved at our apartment aside from a pumpkin centerpiece and these cookies—the requisite Halloween treat.
In the spirit of the holiday—a night that celebrates the subversion of social norms—I decided to deviate from my own culinary conservatism and attempt my first ever Paula Deen recipe.
I’d be lying if I said this was a stretch for me—for one thing, the recipe came to me via another, more trusted source, and it is, by Paula Deen’s standards, relatively virtuous. (I’d like to think that she serves these cookies as a palate cleanser—the preamble to some grand, two-sticks-of-butter-minimum dessert.)
Regardless, the result was shockingly good—soft and caramelized, with a melting chocolate center. While I'll grant that Mrs. Deen knows her way around a peanut butter cookie, it's the modern additions of sea salt and orange zest that make these unforgettable.
Salty Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Paula Deen via Amateur Gourmet
The flavor of these reminds me a little of the venerable Tagalong. We experimented with both milk and semisweet chocolate, to equal acclaim.
Yields about 16 cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
Semisweet or milk chocolate chunks
Maldon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, orange zest and a pinch of sea salt until well integrated.
Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on the cookie sheet. (Do no press them down.) Press the chocolate on top and sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through, until the bottoms are golden-brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack (or consume immediately).