Time: 11 minutes
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup powdered sugar (you may need a bit more to make the dough easy enough to handle after it's chilled)
For cookie dough:
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups white flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
Finely chopped salted peanuts for garnish, optional (but really good!)
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
enough half-and-half to make the frosting spreadable
For filling, blend together the 2 ingredients until smooth. Cover and chill for a couple hours to make handling it easier. While filling is chilling, prepare the cookie dough.
For cookie dough, cream together both sugars, butter and cream cheese until batter is fluffy. Add extract and egg, beating until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Take pieces of dough and roll into 1” balls. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of the ball and fill it with about 1 teaspoon of filling. Carefully bring the dough around the filling, covering it completely, and gently roll it again to smooth the dough and fully enclose the filling. Place the balls 2” apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, for 9 to 12 minutes, until cookies are just barely browned on the bottom. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, cream the ingredients together until well blended. I add enough half-n-half to easily dip the top of the cookie into the frosting and let the extra drip off. Frost each cooled cookie and garnish with some finely diced salted peanuts, if desired.
NOTE: I have also used a peanut butter frosting instead of the chocolate cream cheese frosting. Just omit the cocoa and cream cheese, add 2 tablespoons of melted butter and about ¼ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (add enough peanut butter to achieve the “peanutty” taste you like best – if I use crunchy peanut butter, I don’t bother with the chopped salted peanut garnish on the frosting).