Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards

There’s time for kale salad and there’s time for cookies. The time for kale salad is mostly in January, but now, the week before Christmas, is time for cookies.

Last year I made my coffee-addicted husband these cookies, this year I’m catering to his coffee addiction and his fondness of peanut butter – all in one cookie. And it is also a pretty cookie, with a ribbon and all.

I changed the ingredients a little (no shortening – I never have it in my house) and streamlined the directions a bit. One year ago: Linzer cookies

Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards
Adapted from Better Homes
Makes about 48 cookies

125 g (½ cup) butter, softened
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
125 g (2/3 cup) sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled
1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
340 g (2 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
60 g (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 egg white, lightly beaten

To decorate:
60 g (2 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped

In a large bowl, combine butter and peanut butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed (or by hand) until combined. Add sugar. Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the one egg, the coffee, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt until combined. Gradually beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Stir 60 g (2 ounces) melted chocolate into one dough portion. Form both doughs into a rough rectangle (it will make life easier later), cover and chill about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Place each dough portion between two sheets of waxed paper (or on a well floured surface). Roll each portion into a 2 cm thick rectangle. Remove top layers of waxed paper. Trim edges to make a 12 cm ( 4-1/2-inch) square. Cut both rectangles into 6 strips (about 2 cm wide). Stack two light and two dark dough strips together alternating between light and dark (see picture above) brushing the surface with egg white where they touch to glue the strips together together. You will have 3 stacks in total.

Put the stacks in the fridge for at least 1 hour (longer is fine) or freeze for about 30 minutes, or until dough is firm enough to slice.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (350 degrees F). Cut each stack crosswise into about 6 mm (1/4-inch) slices. Place slices 2 cm (1 inch) apart on a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and cookies are set. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.

In a small saucepan heat and stir 60g (2 ounces )chopped chocolate over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag. Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag. Squeeze the bag, piping bows or desired designs on cookie tops. Let stand until chocolate sets.

Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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