Better Nutters

Got these from the Bouchon bakery book and they did not let down. There is a high proportion of fat—in the form of butter and peanut butter—in these cookies, they are best when frozen before baking, which makes them hold their shape better and spread less.

Better nutters from the bouchon bakery book

Recipe

Cookies:

¼ cup (30 grams) Unsalted peanut halves
1 ¼ cups + 2 ½  (198 grams) tablespoon All-purpose flour (plain flour is fine, that is what i use)
1 ¾ teaspoons + 1/8 teaspoon  (9.1 grams) Baking soda
¾ teaspoon (3.8 grams) Baking powder
7.4 ounces (210 grams) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup (86 grams) Creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups (106 grams) Light brown sugar
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (54 grams) Eggs
1 ½ teaspoons (8.5 grams) Vanilla paste
1 1/3 cups (106 grams) Old-fashioned oats

Peanut Butter Filling:

1 cup + 3 tablespoons (175 grams) Basic Buttercream (recipe below)
½ cup + 3 tablespoons (175 grams) Creamy peanut butter
1/18  teaspoon (0.2 grams) salt

You’ll need a 3¼-inch round cutter and a pastry bag with an Ateco #867 French star tip. For this recipe, we use Virginia jumbo peanut halves and Skippy natural peanut butter. Cookies baked in a convection oven will have a more even color and will not spread as much as those baked in a standard oven.

To toast the peanuts: Preheat the oven to 325°F (standard).Spread the peanuts on a small tray and toast in the oven, stirring often, for 16 to 18 minutes, until a light golden brown. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

For the cookies: Place the flour in a medium bowl, sift in the baking soda and baking powder, and whisk together.

Place the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter, warming the bowl if needed (see Pommade, page 190), until it has the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Add the sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla paste and mix on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again. The mixture may look broken, but that is fine (overwhipping the eggs could cause the cookies to expand too much during baking and then deflate).

Add the combined dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the oats and pulse on low about 10 times to combine. Add the chopped peanuts and pulse to combine.

Mound the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and, using a pastry scraper, push it together into a 5-by-7-inch block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Unwrap the dough, place it between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll it out to a ¼-inch-thick sheet. If the dough has softened, slide it (in the parchment) onto the back of a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm enough to cut.

Using the round cutter, cut 8 cookies from the dough. (If the dough softens, return it to the refrigerator until the cookies are firm enough to transfer to a sheet pan.) Arrange the rounds on a lined sheet pan.

Push the trimmings together and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll, then roll out and cut into 4 more rounds. Add them to the sheet pan. Wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and freeze the dough for at least 2 hours, or until firm. (For longer storage, remove the frozen rounds from the sheet pan and freeze in a covered container or a plastic bag for up to 1 month.)

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (convection or standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.

Arrange the frozen cookies on the sheet pans, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake the cookies until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes in a convection oven, 16 to 18 minutes in a standard oven, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through baking. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cookies: Combine the buttercream, peanut butter, and salt in the bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix for 2 minutes on medium-low speed, until combined and smooth. Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag.

Turn half of the cookies over. Beginning in the center, pipe a spiral of peanut butter filling (55 grams) on each one, to within ¼ inch of the edges. Top each with a second cookie and press gently to sandwich the cookies.

The cookies are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container, at room temperature if unfilled, refrigerated if filled, for up to 3 days.

Note on rolling out the dough: At the bakery, we use a commercial sheeter to roll out the dough quickly and evenly. At home, the dough must be refrigerated as necessary during the rolling and cutting process.

Basic Buttercream

Makes 450 grams/3 cups

¼ cup + 1 tablespoon Egg whites (75 grams)
¾ cup Granulated sugar (150 grams)
2 tablespoons + 2 ¼ Granulated sugar (33 grams)
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Water (42 grams)
8 ounces Unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature (227 grams)

Buttercream is one of the most important basics in the pastry kitchen. It’s not essential that you use a high-fat butter, just the best quality butter you have access to.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Place the 150 grams/1 cup sugar in a small saucepan, add the water, and stir to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, and simmer until the syrup reaches 230°/100°C.

Letting the syrup continue to cook, turn the mixer to medium speed, gradually pour in the remaining 33 grams/2 tablespoons plus 2¼ teaspoons sugar into the whites, and whip until the whites are beginning to form very loose peaks. If the whites are ready before the syrup reaches 248°F/120°C, turn the mixer to the lowest setting just to keep them moving.

When the syrup reaches 248°F/120°C, remove the pan from the heat. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup to the whites, pouring it between the side of the bowl and the whisk. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk for 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the bowl is at room temperature and the whites hold stiff peaks. (If the mixture is warm, it will melt the butter.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, a few pieces at a time. If at any point the mixture looks broken, increase the speed and beat to re-emulsify it, then reduce the speed and continue adding the butter. Check the consistency: if the buttercream is too loose to hold its shape, it should be refrigerated for up to a few hours to harden, then beaten again to return it to the proper consistency.

The buttercream can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month; defrost frozen buttercream in the refrigerator overnight before using. Thirty minutes before using the buttercream, place it in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and allow to soften. Then mix on low speed to return the buttercream to the proper consistency for piping or spreading.

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