Peanut Butter Black and Tan Cookies

When you grow up in a family of very enthusiastic eaters, you come to realize that everyone has their own preferred flavor.

My flavor was strawberry.  I like strawberry just fine but I think the obsession stemmed back to an early Strawberry Shortcake fascination and just stuck. 

My dad’s flavor was vanilla… kept safe because no one wanted to fight him for boring vanilla.

My mom’s flavor was peanut butter and chocolate.  Two flavors really… but when you’re the mom you get to make up the rules.  

My sister’s flavor was… I dunno, maybe buttermilk biscuit… because she was always eating those in heaps.

Your preferred flavor is what appears on your birthday, when you bring home a good report card, or when you graduate from one thing or another.  It’s these little traditions that keep families in line, and gives order and reason to family celebrations. 

If all falls into this reasoning, these Peanut Butter Black and Tan Cookies are my mom’s and she can share but only if she wants to.  

They’re cakey peanut butter cookies (yes, just let it happen) are topped with a glossy dark chocolate and a creamy peanut butter frosting.  A classic Black and White Cookie gone tan with peanut butter. Max out on flavor because it is a very fine idea, especially with chocolate. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

•  Softened butter, granulated sugar, and creamy peanut butter.  I used a peanut butter blended with palm oil, admittedly.  Not the super natural sort. Rather it’s that pleasingly blended / super spreadable peanut butter.  Guilty pleasure.  It adds just the right texture and fat to these cookies.

•  Eggs, vanilla, buttermilk to bind, flavor, and moisten our batter.

•  Flour, baking soda, and salt to work their cookie magic. 

Butter is creamed to fluffy along with creamy peanut butter and sugar.  

It’s key here that the butter be very well softened or it won’t properly incorporate into the peanut butter.  Essentially I’m saying, follow the rules… this one makes a difference. 

Eggs are beaten into the batter, one at a time until the mixture in beautifully fluffy and creamed. 

The dry ingredients are added to the wet, and buttermilk is streamed into the batter, bringing it all together. 

The batter will resemble a thick and scoopable cake batter.  I used a large cookie scoop to scoop about 1/4-cup of batter onto a parchment lined sheet.

Here’s some things to know:

•  Parchment paper will be your salvation when it comes to this recipe.  Better than foil, better than an unlined non-stick baking sheet… go for the parchment!

•  The cookies spread so they’ll need about 2-inches on all sides to do their thing. 

•  The bottoms of these cookies are actually the top so if you’re baking two sheets at a time, it’s a good idea to alternate them on the racks halfway through baking for even browning. 

While the cookies cool, we’ll make the peanut butter frosting and chocolate glaze.  

Here’s how we do.  

Bottoms up, frost half of the bottom with chocolate frosting and the other half with glossy chocolate glaze.  Allow the cookies to sit and rest.  The glazey tops will crust over a bit, making them easier to individually wrap in plastic. 

Cakey and sweet.  Chocolate and peanut butter. You can’t go wrong, ask my mom.  They’re as satisfying and delicious as you think. That’s for certain! 

Peanut Butter Black and Tan Cookies

makes 12 large cookies

For the Cookies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

For the Chocolate Glaze:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips of pieces

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon corn syrup

For the Peanut Butter Frosting:

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

splash of pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons heavy cream (plus more if necessary to make the frosting spreadable)

To make the cookies, place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or using a large bowl and electric hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and peanut butter until well combined, thick, and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating into the batter for 1 minute after each egg addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the butter mixture and beat on low speed.  Stream in the buttermilk and beat until all of the flour disappears into the batter.  Remove the bowl from the stand mixer (or set aside the beaters) and finish incorporating the dough with a spatula, making sure that everything is well combined.  

The batter will resemble a fluffy, thick cake batter.

Use a large cookie scoop to scoop batter mounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each cookie.  Each cookie is a scant 1/4 cup.  Just less than 1/4 cup.  

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges and spread out, about 13 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. 

To make the chocolate glaze, in a heatproof bowl combine chocolate, butter, and corn syrup.  Bring a medium size pan with two inches of water to a simmer. Place the heatproof bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water. We’re creating a double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is glossy. Set aside to cool just slightly before glazing the cookies.

To make the peanut butter glaze, in a medium bowl combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of cream.  Slowly begin to stir together until the powdered sugar begins to combine.  Add more cream as necessary to create a smooth and speadable frosting. 

To assemble the cookies, make sure the cookies are completely cool. Flip the cookies so the bottom side is facing up. We’ll frost the bottoms. Spread chocolate glaze over half of the cookie.  Spread peanut butter frosting over the other half.  Allow to rest so the glaze hardens a bit on the top for about 30 minutes.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap to store.