I love chocolate. But when it comes to Valentine's Day it can be a bit of a cliché: the Whitman's Samplers with their impossible-to-decipher filling maps; the miniature heart-shape drugstore candy bars; the Hershey's Kisses, once simply silver, suddenly dressed in every shade of pink and red.
This year, why not make your honey swoon by baking her (or him) a special treat made with that other creamy, sweet, incredibly rich and decadent substance--peanut butter?
From blondies and cookies to cheesecakes and freezer pies, there are dozens of recipes that call for a jar of Jif. My personal favorite is one for peanut butter biscotti that I've been making and refining for years. In large part, it's based on a recipe from The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, except I use creamy peanut butter instead of chunky, add in chopped peanuts and peanut butter chips, and at the very end, dip each cookie in--you guessed it--chocolate. After all, the two flavors are a match made in heaven.
About the author: Lucy Baker is a graduate student in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College. Before returning to school to pursue an MFA, she was an assistant cookbook editor at HarperCollins. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently obsessed with all things fennel.
- 1 1/2 cups plus two tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 3/4 peanut butter chips
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 creamy peanut butter
- 2 eggs plus one egg yolk
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat nonstick baking mat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the chopped peanuts and peanut butter chips.
In another large bowl, whisk the sugar, peanut butter, eggs and yolk until smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture until it comes together and a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, shape into a mound, and then divide in half. Roll each half into a log about 10 to 12 inches long. Place both logs on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.
On a cutting board, cut each log into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal. Lay the cookies flat on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet and flip the cookies over. Bake another 10 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are hard. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
Storage: The biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.