I’m going to set the record straight for a moment because I get this question a lot. I am not Amish and I have no designs to become Amiish. I like my complicated plumbing and the internet and I’m a food photographer. None of those things would be, er, kosher (totally mixing my religious metaphors) if I were Amish.
It’s true, I live in a formerly Amish farm (the family moved to be more remote. MORE REMOTE! Says the girl who can’t see her neighbors.) It’s also true that I speak of the Amish often. That’s because I live in an area where quite a few Amish families have settled and I have some dear Amish friends named Henry, Ada, and Anna. What do we talk about? We talk about what all people talk about; weather, family, gardens, health, and food. Okay, we mostly talk food. It’s inevitable really. I buy fifty pound bags of flour from them. It’s a natural conversation starter. Them: “You ran out again? What are you waiting to make with this?” Me: “Oh! This new bread I’ve been thinking about. It has…” You see how it goes.
When they stop by to visit or use our phone (because they can’t have one of their own), I shove bites of food into their hands. When I stop by their place to pick up dry goods or see if they’ve heard where I can get some piglets or good deals on something or other, they shove food into my hands. We have a mutually broadening relationship. And by broadening, I mean all of our backsides.
Ada and Anna know what I do for a living and keep their eyes open for new recipes for me. The Amish have enormous community meals after church with all members bringing their best food to share. When they taste something especially delicious, they ask the bringer to share the recipe with them and pass it along to me. Such is the case with the recipe (OH THIS RECIPE) that I’m sharing with you today. Anna started writing out a copy of the recipe for me as soon as she saw the look on my face while Ada told me about it. Perfect peanut butter cookies with a miniature Snickers bar* baked inside. “Did the Snickers dissolve in the cookie?” I asked? “No!” they assured me, “It melted a little but you could still see it was a Snickers.” “Could you tell from the outside there were Snickers in there?” I asked again? “No. It’s like a fun surprise when you bite into it or break it open.” they said.
You KNOW I was all in.
*Another point of clarification: Yes. The Amish eat candy bars. They also drink soda and eat pizza and burgers and tacos and fries. Once, when I posted another of their recipes, someone wrote back to me convinced I was trying to pull a fast one because they had a romantic notion of Amish eating a completely idyllic and organic diet. When I told Ada and Anna this, they looked at me like I’d grown a second head and turned neon orange, laughed and said, “Why wouldn’t we eat candy bars? They’re good!”
I went straight home and made a double batch. A word to the wise. Don’t double Amish recipes. They cook for families as big or bigger than mine on a daily basis. I looked at the three and a half cups of flour called for and thought “Now come on. If I’m going to stuff cookies with Snickers, I want enough of these to last a few days.” What I failed to factor in was the full pound of butter, two cups of peanut butter, and four cups of sugar that was going to mean. As a result of this little, er, miscalculation on my part, I am, however, quite capable of telling you that these cookies last BEAUTIFULLY at room temperature for a full week after being baked. If you were going to store them longer than that, I’d highly recommend freezing them when they’re just a day or less old.
But the cookies. In a word, they’re perfect. Peanut butter cookies stuffed with peanut, caramel, and nougat stuffed chocolate bars. It’s like the turducken of the cookie world, but better! If you eat one while it’s still warm, the caramel and nougat are melted and gooey. But if you eat one while they’re cold, just the caramel is gooey while the nougat is chewy and soft and the peanuts are crunchy. The great debate of our household right now is which one is superior. We have some pretty passionate people on both sides of the argument. Which way do you think you’ll like them best?
- The temperature at which these cookies are baked is no typo. They ARE indeed baked at 300°F. This was new to me, as almost every cookie I’ve ever made has been cooked at 350°F or 375°F, but I followed Anna and Ada’s instructions to a ‘T’, and found that the recipe yielded beautiful and utterly perfect peanut butter cookies with no burned bottoms or over-cooked edges. I’m going to be playing with my other cookie recipes and seeing how they do at this temperature, too.
- As a result of this lower cooking temperature, the cookies need to be in the oven for a correspondingly longer amount of time. Don’t rush them.
- Also as a result of this lower cooking temperature, they won’t brown as much as you may be accustomed to seeing. Use your fingers to touch the edges of the cookies. Are they set up? they’re done.
- I ended up using a combination of creamy and crunchy peanut butters because I ran out of creamy in the process of doubling (Yeesh) the recipe. The finished cookies were, as I’ve said, perfection. If you have to use a combination, I think you’ll be a-okay. I think using all crunchy might make them harder to wrap around the Snickers bars, though.
I’m ridiculously excited to be a finalist. I feel a little Sally Fields-esque here since I was nominated by enough people to get even this far! The prize is roughly a metric ton of traffic and eyeballs directed at the winning blog. I could SO handle that. I feel dorky to ask, but if you appreciate what I’m doing here at Foodie with Family, would you mind throwing a vote my way?