Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Fancy Dinner Party: Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies with White Chocolate Ganache

The first dessert I ever cooked (I use "cook" lightly since my mom probably did most of the work) was peanut butter butterscotch cookies in 8th grade for a Speech class project. Dressed in my snazziest blue suit ("looking cleaner than the board of health" Coach used to say), I showed everyone the manly wonders of cookie baking (complete with a fake oven made out of cardboard). Thirteen years later (God, I'm getting old), I would once again grace the world with an even more sugartastic version of these cookies to complete my ridiculously overboard dessert course for Danielle's dinner party. Since our most gracious host has a gluten allergy, these flourless cookies were the perfect treat to thank her for letting us invade her house to eat all kinds of yummy food and drink her alcohol (Fun Fact: gluten-free cooking is every dentist's worst nightmare as it's essentially pure sugar).

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies
So weird having a batter without flour 
Modified from
Servings: 18 cookies
Time: 30 minutes

2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
6-8 oz butterscotch chips
6 oz white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Quick side note about keeping these gluten-free: Look for peanut butter that has peanuts as the only ingredient. Also, be careful which butterscotch and white chocolate chips you get (check manufacturer websites). Kroger's Private Selection butterscotch chips meet the necessary criteria as do Nestle's premier white chocolate morsels.
Making proper fork marks is a skill that takes years to properly hone (I poked myself in the eye so many times before finally getting it right).
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the peanut butter, sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until you can no longer see the sugar.
  3. Stir in the butterscotch chips.
  4. Place tightly pressed tablespoon sized cookies 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Press down on each one with a fork to make a checker board.
  5. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the cookies start to harden (but not too much. seriously this is a tricky cookie to judge).
  6. Let the cookies cool on wire racks.
  7. While waiting for them to cool, heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan over medium heat until it starts to steam.
  8. Slowly pour the cream over the white chocolate chips while whisking constantly to form the ganache.
  9. Drizzle the ganache over the cookies. Fight the fact that the crevices made by the fork marks prohibit any attempt to make them pretty. 
  10. Let the ganache harden and serve.

If your teeth don't fall out after the first sugar-packed bite, then you'll be in for an incredible treat (even if they do you should just gum it because these aren't to be missed). There's a great peanut butter flavor, but the butterscotch really kicks it up a notch to make each bite one to remember. The true impact player, however, is the white chocolate ganache which helps keep the texture from being too overly dry and brings the sweetness quotient up to levels of decadence that would make Caligula blush. Somehow, what could've been an extremely bland and boring cookie (seriously just look at the 3 whole ingredients that make up the cookie part) turned into something that would've made 13 year old me (and my speech teacher) proud.

All lucky attendees surely agree that Danielle and Marshall threw one fantastic dinner party. Every thing there just made me sad that I had but one stomach to fill. Aside from stuffing ourselves to the maximum stretching capacity of our pants, we also had a fabulous time having great conversation with good friends (and of course watching Scotty teach us all lessons about stretching and dancing). Now, I'll just spend the rest of the week being jealous of the ridiculous kitchen Danielle gets to use whenever she wants (it's not breaking in if I make them food too, right?).

Enjoy these highlights from the dinner party:

Amanda worked the fryer like a pro for these fried ravioli. 
Kevin's shrimp, avocado and cucumber appetizers can get any party started.
The main course of risotto and chicken marsala from Danielle and Marshall made it difficult to leave room for dessert.
The veggie option of stuffed mushroom caps with mozzarella  made me question my meat eating ways.
Phoenix and Tovy share a moment.

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