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CHOCOLATE WEEK: PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP SANDWICH COOKIES

There are people -- the author of this recipe newsletter among them -- who feel that dessert is not worth the trouble or calories if it does not involve chocolate. In honor of those people, we offer a week of indulgent chocolate recipes. This one is from the new cookbook "Absolutely Chocolate" by the editors of Fine Cooking magazine.

INGREDIENTS

For the cookies:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate or mini semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Make the cookies: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. In a medium bowl, sift together the two flours, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg; continue creaming until smooth and fluffy, about three minutes with an electric mixer (longer by hand). Stir in the flour mixture by hand just until it's incorporated. Don't overmix or the cookies will be tough. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter, spaced about 2 inches apart, onto the baking sheets. With floured fingers, flatten each dab of batter into a 2-inch round. Bake until the cookies are puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets if needed for even baking. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

Make the filling: In a small bowl, cream the confectioners' sugar, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the heavy cream; continue creaming until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the chopped peanuts and chocolate.

Assemble the sandwiches: Transfer the cooled cookies to a work surface, flipping half of them over. With an offset spatula or butter knife, spread a scant teaspoon of filling onto each turned-over cookie. Set another wafer on top of each filled cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. Store sealed or at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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