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Salted Peanut Butter Ball Brownie Cookies

  I'm way too excited to be sharing this recipe.  This is the first one tried from my brand new Joy the Baker cookbook, and I am so in love.  Favorite cookbook, ever.  Hands down.

  Let the celebration of butter and sugar begin!

  My cookies were a wee bit bigger and wider than hers, with more crackly crunchy edges.  But the center, that ooey-gooey fudgy center, is where it's at.

  You all know of buckeyes, the highly esteemed peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate.  Skip the chocolate (gasp!) and smoodge them into warm, just-out-of-the-oven brownie cookies.  Or keep the chocolate, depending on how decadent you like things, or maybe just drizzle them a bit....

  I'm really not a huge chocolate freak, but I love me some sweet and salty.  A little sprinkling of fleur de sel, and I'm a happy girl.

  I'd recommend going a bit smaller than I did with these rich beauties.  I got 13 cookies, but I'd go for the maximum of 16.  Start out with some even or scant tablespoons of batter and go from there.  But really, the only way to ruin these is to burn them.  Don't do that, go for slightly underbaked.  'Tis heavenly.

  Many thanks to the popular Joy for her simplistic, yet "bonkers" amazing recipes.  She is a woman very much loved for her sweet soul, and the things that sweet soul creates.  Lord help us all whenever she becomes pregnant.

Salted Peanut Butter Ball Brownie Cookies
Yield: 12-16 cookies
Ingredients for the peanut butter balls:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tbsp. peanut butter
  • Few pinches of salt (don't go too crazy, you're sprinkling extra on later)

For the cookies:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Fleur de sel, or other sea salt, for topping

To make the peanut butter balls, in a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, peanut butter, and salt.  With clean hands, begin to work the mixture together.  The butter and peanut butter should come together to create a stiff but pliable dough.  Roll the dough into 16 small walnut-sized balls.  Place on a clean cutting board or cookie sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

To make the cookies, in a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until thick and pale.  Set aside.

Place about 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer (never let it boil).  In a heatproof bowl, combine butter and chocolate chips.  Place the bowl over but not touching the simmering water.  Heat until chocolate and butter have melted together.  Remove from heat.  Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture and fold together.  Once entirely incorporated, stir in the vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula until thoroughly incorporated.  The mixture will be glossy and loose.

Spoon tablespoonfuls of cookie batter onto the baking sheets, spacing the batter 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes until crackled on top, but still fudgy in the center.  Remove from oven and immediately press a peanut butter ball into the center of each cookie.  The warmth will help meld the two together.  Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.  Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies will last well wrapped and at room temperature for four days.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook