Peanut blossom cookies first gained notoriety at the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. They're simply a peanut butter cookie topped with a Hershey's Kiss. We started with the original recipe and made tweaks to it with the goal of achieving a more robust peanut flavor.
Adding more peanut butter didn't do the trick. We tried swapping chunky peanut butter for the creamy, but tasters disliked the craggy texture it gave these cookies. We got the best peanut flavor when we replaced a portion of the flour with roasted peanuts, which we ground finely in the food processor so they wouldn't compromise the cookie's texture.
Most recipes recommend pressing the kisses into the cookies immediately after baking, but the warm cookies softened the kisses too much, and they took 4 hours to firm up again—longer than we were willing to wait to indulge.
Strangely enough, we found that placing the chocolates on the cookies during the last 2 minutes of baking helped them firm up more quickly. Why? It turns out that a little direct heat stabilizes and sets the exterior of the chocolate, and the kisses were firm enough to eat after the cookies had cooled for just 2 hours. Any Hershey's Kiss—dark, milk, white, or "Hugs"—works in this recipe.
Peanut blossom cookies
Servings: Makes 48 cookies
Start to finish: 1 hour
1 1/3 cups (6 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed (2 1/3 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
48-50 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
Process 2/3 cup flour and peanuts in food processor until peanuts are finely ground, about 15 seconds; transfer to bowl and whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup flour.
Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and beat until combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 2 additions, and mix until just combined. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are just set and beginning to crack, 9 to 11 minutes. Working quickly, remove sheet from oven and place 1 candy in center of each cookie, pressing down firmly. Return sheet to oven and bake until cookies are light golden, about 2 minutes longer. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 94 calories; 53 calories from fat; 6 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 11 mg cholesterol; 48 mg sodium; 9 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 2 g protein.