Hershey's kiss cookies are one of those rare varieties of cookies that I avoided during the holidays growing up. I didn't like the options those cookies presented to my mouth: a.) Get stabbed in the roof of the mouth by a pointy, chocolate spear. b.) Smash chocolate into gums and gap between front teeth while trying to bite down through an inch of cold chocolate. c.) Cram entire giant cookie into face while trying not to be noticed as drool escapes from corners of mouth. d.) Gnaw cookie in half using back teeth, again while trying not to be noticed.
Anybody feel me?
Well recently my step mother was making these cookies, and as I was polishing off a dozen or so of them (using options c and d - I was alone) a thought occurred to me: Why not make these cookies with a chocolate that I actually LIKE? And just like that, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops were born.
I've made only mild adjustments to the original recipe. I subbed out a bit of oil for applesauce and I use whole wheat rather than AP flour. Rather than shortening I use coconut oil, though I'm sure Earth Balance would work well, or even canola oil. I also left in the egg. I figure people who use eggs will us an egg and people who don't will know what to do. In the spirit of honesty and accountability I should mention that I'm not strictly adhering to a vegan diet these days. If I can get my hands on eggs that I feel good about, I'll use them in baking. There's also a cheese maker in the market near our house who uses the milk of happy, well loved lambs, but only after the baby lambs have had their fill. (That's right, I just said that. Scoff if you must, I don't like stealing milk from babies!) We get that cheese from time to time, as well as a few others. That's how it is for me today at least, it ebbs and flows.
Now on with the recipe!
INGREDIENTS - Makes about 3 dozen cookies
About 100g dark chocolate discs/slabs/drops*
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil (see head notes)
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg or Ener-G egg replacer
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
- Heat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat applesauce, coconut oil and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg/egg replacer, water and vanilla; beat well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
- Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet. (In this case, smaller balls are better than bigger balls!)
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Immediately press a chocolate into the center of each cookie.
- Allow to cool completely before storing, this freeze really well.
* The chocolate I use comes from Chocolats Privilege in Montreal. It's the kind of chocolate you would use for fondu or baking. It's 71% cocoa mass and it's the business. If you don't have access to this, go with any other dark chocolate drop or chocolate bar. When I was planning these cookies in my mind I was going to use Lindt chocolate bars and just slap a chunk on the top of each cookie. Then you could get creative with flavours - salty, spicy, caramel-y...the list goes on. If you make some, send me a photo!