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a couple of years ago for hanukkah, my parents gifted me with what i consider to be my very own bible: the all-american cookie book by nancy baggett. this book is where 99% of my favorite cookie recipes come from, with the exception of one: the peanut butter kiss.

 you’ve probably had a peanut butter kiss before. in fact, in high school i once made out with a guy after a party who tasted a lot like peanut butter. et voila, a peanut butter kiss! no, but really – it’s my experience that many a man taste like peanut butter when you kiss them. hey, it’s better than tasting of cigarettes and stale beer, right?

 anywho, you’ve also probably had a peanut butter kiss COOKIE before, too. you know, those deliciously crackly peanut butter cookies wrapped in sugar, the ones with a hershey’s kiss melted smack dab into the middle. there’s little better in life than peanut butter and chocolate (mint and chocolate is pretty damn amazing too), as reese’s cups and haagen dazs’ chocolate peanut butter ice cream demonstrate. these cookies are incredibly simple and take less than 10 minutes to whip up, then another ten to bake. they taste amazing, look adorable, and make a great gift. right now, there’s a bunch of them sitting in my glass cookie jar, looking pretty all day every day. 

 seriously, you can’t go wrong with these. they converted my peanut butter hating roommate into a fan. girl ever asked for the recipe. that’s when you know she’s come over to the dark side of PB and chocolate. you’ll notice that i went for hershey’s white chocolate swirl kisses. this wasn’t intentional. i was actually quite unhappy when i opened the bag and saw i’d gotten the wrong kind –  but you know what? turns out peanut butter is just as good with white chocolate as it is with milk chocolate. 

The Recipe *adapted from a cooks.com recipe search

 1 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 egg

4 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla

1 bag hershey’s kisses (flavor of your choice)

 additional 1/2 cup white sugar

 to make, preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease two baking sheets (or cover with parchment paper or silicone mats).

 combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. set aside. in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer, if you’ve got one), mix sugars, butter, peanut butter, egg, milk and vanilla until creamy. go on, dip your finger in. it’s goooood, isn’t it? now, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

 take your additional 1/2 cup of white sugar and put it in a small bowl. roll your dough into golf-sized balls (or a little smaller) and roll in the sugar. place on cookie sheet, about 1″ apart. bake for 8-10 minutes (they should be golden and cracked around the top), and immediately place a single chocolate kiss* in the center of each cookie.

 *insider’s tip: peel the wrappers from your kisses ahead of time, and stick them in a bowl in the freezer. this ensures that they won’t melt entirely when you put them into the hot cookies.

 now, resist the urge to eat the whole batch at once. or don’t. but don’t blame me if you have a tummy ache tomorrow. 

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as my few loyal followers (hi, family and a couple friends) may recall, last week i posted a recipe for best ever brownies, which, i have to remind you, are totally delicious. as you also may remember, i stated in that post that these brownies were perfect for mix ins, like s’mores, for example.

well, now i’ve gone and mixed in graham crackers and mini marshmallows, and the results are spectacular. the marshmallows give the brownies an ooey gooey quality that can’t be beat, and the graham crackers somehow melted into just a tiny bit of crunch – but not too much crunch, so you’re not biting into a bit of brownie and scraping your gum. since in new york we don’t exactly have campfires on the regular, i’ll be putting this brownie recipe into regular rotation. next up, i’m thinking i’ll attempt s’more ice cream sandwiches…can ya dig it? YUM. 

anywho, if you want to make these, consult the best ever brownies recipe, and then throw in 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers and 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows.

try and resist the urge to eat the entire pan as soon as they come out of the oven. i tried and all i got was a burnt tongue and singed fingers.

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what’s better than chocolate?

NOTHING. that’s right, folks. there’s little in life i believe to be better than chocolate. well, maybe cats. cats, and cookies – is it a coincidence that all these things start with the letter “c”? i think not. 

so, back to the chocolate. you know what’s good? a really well-made snickerdoodle. you know what’s even better than a really well-made snickerdoodle? a CHOCOLATE snickerdoodle. oh yes, my friends, a choc.o.late. snickerdoodle. break it down and think about it. think about all that cinnamon sugary goodness mixing with the amazing invention that is chocolate. i’m one of those people who thinks most things are made better by the addition of chocolate. peanut butter? way better when it’s with chocolate. mint? HELLO, peppermint patties! junior mints! those babies would be nothing without my dear friend chocolate. and while we’re on the subject, i’ll go right ahead and say it: when my dear aunt flo comes to visit, get outta my way, especially if “in my way” means “standing in front of the chocolate at the grocery store.” i think most women would agree, when it’s that time of the month (and when we’re sad/angry/happy/frustrated/cranky/tired/emotional), we need to find us some chocolate, and fast.

it was in one of these sad/happy/emotional states that i decided that snickerdoodles, an old standby in the spiced cookie category, could use a little, well, spicing up. and what better way to improve upon something already delicious than by adding chocolate? so add chocolate i did! and i am proud to say the results were pretty darn spectacular. these cookies still taste like traditional snickerdoodles, but they also, miraculously, taste like chocolate. these are so good, they’ve got me thinking i need to make me some mexican chocolate (cinnamon, almonds and vanilla) sometime soon. but we’ll save that for another day.

The Recipe (adapted from The All American Cookie Book’s recipe for “Best Ever Snickerdoodles”)

2 3/4 cups all purpose white flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3 tbsp cocoa powder (i get mine at trader joe’s)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened (note: this means you can stick them in the mic – but only for about 15 seconds!)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup

2 large eggs

2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For topping

1/4 cup sugar, combined with 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

preheat oven to 375. grease several baking sheets or line them with silicone baking mats. 

in a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and nutmeg; set aside. in another large bowl (preferably a stand mixer), beat together the butter, sugar, and corn syrup until well blended and fluffy, about two minutes. add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended and smooth. turn the mixer to low/off and add half the flour mixture. increase speed and beat until the flour mixture is evenly incorporated. turn back down to low, add the remaining flour mixture, and beat again until incorporated.

let the dough stand for 5-10 minutes to firm up slightly. in the meantime, mix up your cinnamon sugar topping in a small bowl. 

when your dough is ready to go, roll portions into soft 1 1/2 inch balls. roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture until fully covered. place on baking sheets, spacing evenly about 2-3 inches apart. bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the upper third of the oven for 8-11 minutes (mine took about 10). transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, 1-2 minutes. then, transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks. if you keep them on the hot baking sheets, they’ll continue to cook. let stand until completely cooled. now, eat, drool, and proceed to eat again.

store in an airtight container for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 2 months.