1 cup (256 g) no-stir natural peanut butter
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter
2 cups (280 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
1 extra-large egg (60 g) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (192 g) no-stir natural peanut butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons cream
Make the cookie dough. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place 1 cup peanut butter and 8 tablespoons butter. Melt, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Once the mixture is melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside to cool briefly. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and brown sugar, whisking to combine well and working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the melted peanut butter and butter mixture, and stir to combine. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead until smooth and flatten into a disk.
Shape the dough. Place the cookie dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll out into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Cut out oval shapes with a 2-inch oval cookie cutter (Ateco sells a set of concentric oval shaped cookie cutters). Pull away the scraps of uncut dough, gather the scraps and set them aside. Carefully transfer the ovals to the prepared baking sheets, placing them about 1 inch apart (they will not spread much during baking). With a moistened thumb and forefinger, carefully pinch each oval on either side of the width of each oval’s center to create a peanut shape. Reroll the gathered scraps of dough and repeat the process, reserving about ¼ cup of dough. Place the reserved dough in a small bowl and mix with hot water by the tablespoon and stir until you have a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip, and pipe a crisscross pattern on half of the cut-outs.
Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the cut-outs are firm (about 5 minutes), and then place each, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, for 9 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
Prepare the filling. While the cookies are cooling, heat the 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and ¾ cup peanut butter in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dash of kosher salt and stir to combine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, and stir until well-combined. The mixture will be very thick. Add one tablespoon of cream, and stir to thin the filling. Add another tablespoon of cream if necessary to create a thickly pourable filling. Allow the filling to cool until no longer hot to the touch.
Assemble the cookies. Place the filling in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized plain tip (I used a #12 tip). Turn over the half of the cookies without the crisscross pattern, and pipe a generous amount of filling on each overturned cookie. Top with the decorated cookies to create sandwiches, pressing down gently to force the filling to the very edge of the cookies. Allow to sit at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) until the filling is set. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!