Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups

On the tenth anniversary of September 11, nothing could lift spirits higher than indulging in the sweet, comforting combination of peanut butter and chocolate. This cute little dessert is based upon cookie cups which have a crisp exterior while maintaining the soft, sweet interior beloved by all sugar cookie lovers. These cups are filled with a mixture of peanut butter, whipped cream, and cream cheese to create a light, fluffy mousse. Also let’s not forget the peanut butter mousse is sandwiched between a rich layer of chocolate ganache dolloped on the bottom of each cookie cup and drizzled on top for a designer finish. I’m usually the type who tries it after I finish baking it and leave the rest to be eaten by others but I couldn’t even stop munching these days after they were baked. YUM!!!

The whole process begins with something so basic… a bag of sugar cookie mix blended with pecans and pressed into muffin tins. This simple step of the formula creates a crisp yet tender cookie shell. It is important to note that when pressing the cookie mix into the muffin tin, the right amount of cookie mix pressed will seem like a lot but is necessary to create a solid base to build upon later.

 Once the sugar cookie cups have been baked and cooled, the peanut butter mousse and chocolate are prepared. A dollop of chocolate is placed in the bottom of each cookie cup. For the most elegant presentation, the peanut butter mousse is piped into each cup using a disposable piping bag fitted with a large star decorator tip. When the filling is piped into the cookie cup, it will resemble the look of a giant rosette on top of a cupcake. If you do not own disposable piping bags or decorator tips, you may spoon the peanut butter mousse into the cups and use a small spatula or back of the spoon to smooth out the top.

Lastly, place the remaining melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle or piping bag fitted with a fine, round decorator tip. Use the melted chocolate to create a swirl design around the piped peanut butter mousse filling. If you are not a chocoholic or lack any of the above equipment needed for the melted chocolate, you may certainly skip this step and keep the rosette look created by the piped peanut butter mousse. Both looks are impressive and elegant in appearance.

 The following formula requires a sugar cookie mix for the cookie cup crust. Sugar cookie mixes are found in supermarket baking aisles near the boxed cake mixes. I chose the 17.5 oz. sugar cookie mix by Betty Crocker for this formula. It created the perfect wet sand texture necessary for proper pressing into the muffin tins and when mixed with pecans and filled with peanut butter mousse and chocolate, the processed flavor usually found in cookie mixes was obliterated. All the cookie mix left behind was the desired softness and sweetness expected of a sugar cookie. Perhaps best of all, the sugar cookie mix saves precious time, relieving us busy bakers from the long task of baking the sugar cookies from scratch and cleaning up the numerous dirty dishes left behind!!!

Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (17.5 ounce) pkg.  Sugar Cookie Mix (see above for prefered brand)
  • 4.5 oz. Chopped Pecans, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 13.5 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 9.75 oz. Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1 (8 ounce) pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4.25 oz. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 6.75 oz. Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°. Grease muffin tin. Combine sugar cookie mix, pecans, and flour in a bowl. Slowly add in the butter and stir until the mixture resembles the texture of wet sand. Press a thick layer of the cookie mixture into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup.
  2. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes, being sure to rotate the muffin pan halfway through the cooking time. Cool 20 minutes in the muffin pan before removing.
  3. With mixer on medium-high, whip 8 ounces of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Set aside. In mixer, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  4. Microwave the chocolate and remaining 5.5 ounces of cream for about 1 minute. Make sure to stir occasionally (to prevent scorching) until the chocolate is melted smooth. Pour a dollop of the prepared chocolate ganache into the bottom of each sugar cookie cup. Fill each cookie cup by piping the peanut butter mousse into a large rosette/swirl formation.
  5. Drizzle the remaining chocolate ganache evenly over the peanut butter mousse in personal preferred design.  Refrigerate the peanut butter mousse cookie cups until firm, at least 1 hour. 
  6. The Peanut Butter Mousse Cookie Cups can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Special Thanks to: My wonderful boyfriend Peter for the photography and Susan Bazan

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011

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Egyptian Chocolate Butter Cookies

On this Labor Day, like any other holiday, a heap of decorated cookies must always be present. Traditionally, sugar cookies reign supreme amongst family gatherings but today in this house it is all about the butter cookie. To make the day festive, I chose fun and unique shapes inspired by the style of Ancient Egyptians. To complete the theme through color and flavor, I chose chocolate as the star and a solid basis for gold and red accents.

 To start off on the right foot, knowing your basics about chocolate is key to achieving a desirable rich chocolate flavor and avoiding the typical bland butter cookie. The differences between chocolate varieties lie in the percentage of cocoa solids and fat. For example, the sweetened variety of chocolate, such as bittersweet, only contains 35 percent cocoa solids, which are responsible for the rich chocolate flavor profile we all crave. The remaining percentage consists of sugar and cocoa butter. For this formula, cocoa powder is necessary because it contains up to 90 percent cocoa solids, it won’t alter the texture as melted chocolate does, and best of all it doesn’t contribute added fat.

If you desire an intense chocolate flavor profile as much as I, bloom cocoa powder in butter with a bit of instant espresso. The butter creates more flavor molecules for our taste buds and the espresso powder contains hints of bitterness, a complimentary quality found in cocoa powder. When combined, the warm paste exudes rich, chocolatey goodness.

While in the oven, the chocolate aroma filing into the kitchen through a warm cloud may signify to the novice that the formula is a success, however if all of the chocolate flavor is lost into the air it will make for a bland, crispy bore later. The only hope of saving it would be a tall glass of milk or perfect timing for removal from the oven. Seeing as the dough is a dark hue, this can be a daunting task for the home baker, and often avoided at all costs. Since there is a lack of visual clues such as browning edges, the easiest way to tell if the cookies are done is by gently pressing your finger on the cookie’s center. If there is a slight resistance to the touch, they are ready to be cooled. If left in the oven beyond this point, the edges will darken and the flavor will turn bitter.

 For the best chocolate flavor profile in a butter cookie, I recommend using Dutch-processed cocoa powder, however natural cocoa powder is a suitable substitute. Espresso powder provides an interesting complexity to the cocoa powder, but when in a pickle, instant coffee can be substituted. If you mix up the chocolate butter cookie dough but are unable to bake it the same day, don’t fret… it will keep up to three days refrigerated. Once baked and cooled, the cookies should be dusted with confectioners’ sugar or glazed with chocolate to maintain freshness. Stored properly at room temperature, these cookies will remain fresh up to three days.

Although dusting with confectioners’ sugar is an easy decor option, I chose to decorate these cookies with a thin spread of bittersweet chocolate glaze. Once the glaze set up firmly, I used gold edible luster dust and red piping gel to create design accents relative to the cookie shape and theme of Ancient Egypt. If you are located in a warm and humid environment, it may be necessary to give the decorated cookies a quick blast in the refrigerator to firm the glaze up more quickly. No matter what decor you choose, these chocolate butter cookies are sure to be as fun to make and good to eat as they look…

Chocolate Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 20 tbsp. ( 2 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 oz. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Espresso Powder
  • 7 oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 large Egg Yolks
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 11.25 oz. Pastry Flour

Procedure

  1. Melt 4 tbsp. butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa and espresso powder and stir until mixture forms a smooth paste. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the remaining 16 tbsp. butter and sugar. Add the salt and cooled cocoa mixture, mixing on high speed until combined and fluffy. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add yolks and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl once more. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour in three parts. Scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition of flour.
  4. Mix until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough into three disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disks until the dough has firmed yet soft enough to roll out, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  5. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°. Roll out the dough disks on a lightly floured surface and use desired cookie cutters to create personalized shapes and sizes.
  6. Place cut out shapes 1 in. apart on parchment-lined baking sheet using a metal spatula. Bake until cookies show slight resistance to the touch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure to rotate the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. If cookies begin to darken around the edges they have overbaked.
  7. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer cookies to a wire rack by carefully lifting the parchment from the baking sheet to cool completely. Repeat process until all remaining dough and scraps have rolled, cut and baked.

Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

4 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate

4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

2 tbsp. Corn Syrup

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Procedure

Melt chocolate and butter together. Mix until smooth. Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix until smooth and glossy. Using an offset spatula or back of a large spoon, spread about a teaspoon of glaze over each cookie. Spread the glaze almost to the edge. If the glaze becomes too stiff to spread fluidly, reheat over low heat until smooth Allow the glazed cookies to dry completely before decorating. Use piping gel, edible luster dust or confectioners’ sugar to add a final accent to your personal design. 

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Special thanks to Erika Bruce and my wonderful boyfriend Peter for all the help and support.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011