The original homemade oreo recipe that I got from Smitten Kitchen and made yesterday are amazing. They look like oreos and taste like oreos -- only better. One person today did not know that I was the one who made them, and as she took her first bite she said "these are just as good -- no these are better than oreos" and I have to agree. They have all the great oreo flavors, with none of the preservatives and other strange ingredients that are added to make them shelf-stable.
With the great success of those cookies I immediately started wondering about variations. Chocolate cookies with chocolate frosting? Vanilla cookies with chocolate frosting? Chocolate cookies with peanut butter frosting? I opted to start experimenting with the chocolate peanut butter combination since I have a thing for chocolate peanut butter sandwich cookies anyway and the chocolate peanut butter combination in general. (see here , here and here for sandwich cookies, and here,and here for other peanut butter chocolate combos.)
I made the peanut butter versions two ways. The first time I just added 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips to the dry ingredients and pulsed until they were mostly broken up. The problem with that was that the flavor was very subtle -- almost unnoticeable. With the second batch I decreased the butter down to 1/2 cup (1 stick) and added 3 tbsps of peanut butter (crunchy 'cause that's all I ever have). The second variation was definitely an improvement flavor-wise, but I think if I made them again I would simply add 3 tbsps of peanut butter to the regular recipe instead of cutting back on the butter. I'm not quite sure how it would affect the texture, but I think they would be okay.
I had Chris and our friend Wade give both versions a taste though and they agreed that the version with the peanut butter chips ground up in there were the better option. To make those instead, just add the chips to the dry ingredients and leave everything else alone.
Oh, and just to give them an extra peanut butter kick, I added 3 tbsps of peanut butter to the frosting... just for that little extra something.
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I use Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
3 -4 tbsp peanut butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
¼ cup (½ stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp peanut butter to taste
1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.
2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, peanut butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Add the peanut butter, then turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.