week 16. peanut butter macs x peanut butter buttercream + strawberry jelly

using my base recipe, I subbed out cocoa powder for the equivalent amount of peanut butter powder (a thing I didn't know already existed at grocery stores until I looked for it).

peanut butter is one of my favorite things in life, so I was pretty excited for this one. these were both light and rich at the same time, and that hit of jelly on the inside made these perfect. despite having been told these were "peanut butter and jelly" flavored, every person that tried it was like, "omg there's jelly!" so I'm glad it turned out to be a fun surprise for everyone.

I chose to do a heavier buttercream instead of the more delicate "white sauce" method of buttercream that I've been obsessed with lately in effort to better hold the jelly in the center. it worked, and these turned out v delicious.

ingredients | shells

mixture a:                  
peanut butter powder                          37g

almond TPT*                                                300g
powdered sugar                                        38g

egg whites                                                      73g     

mixture b:
egg whites                                                      73g
salt                                                                       0.5g
water                                                                  50g
sugar                                                                  188g
light corn syrup                                          10g
brown gel food coloring                      2 drops

* TPT means equal parts powdered sugar and another ingredient, in this case it’s almond flour, and you will use 150g of each to equal the 300g.

method | shells

bring all ingredients to room temperature.

from “mixture a,” sift together the peanut butter powder, almond TPT, and powdered sugar into a large bowl and set aside. (it’s important to sift to make sure everything is very fine).

from “mixture b” whisk the egg whites and salt in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment set to 4 and leave it there while you make a syrup.

make a syrup from “mixture b.” first add the water, then the sugar, then the corn syrup into a small saucepan. pour the sugar in very slowly so that it all gets incorporated into the water, being very careful not to get any on the sides of the saucepan or your syrup can crystallize. do not stir!! stirring can also cause crystallization. just let it do its thing.

heat this syrup on medium until it boils and reaches 248°F. really, don’t stir it!

tip: you can take the chill off the eggs if you hold the bowl over the heating saucepan for a few seconds while swirling it around or whisking it (I like to whisk).

turn up the standing mixer to 8 to create soft peaks while the syrup is still heating up to the right temperature.

to create the meringue, slowly pour the hot syrup along the side of the bowl into the mixing egg whites and let it mix until it’s stiff, but still shiny.

take the egg whites from “mixture a,” plus a spatula full of the meringue and mix it into the PB, almond, powdered sugar mixture that you made earlier. fold this together with a spatula until you form a thick paste.

drop in2-3 or so drops of your gel food coloring to amp up the color. I noticed these were a little dull and wanted them to be a little richer-looking. then continue to fold the paste until the color is completely incorporated.

fold the rest of the meringue into that paste until it becomes glossy and slightly runny. (you’ll know when it’s done when the batter slowly falls off your spatula like a thick ribbon and settles into itself in the bowl after a few seconds. you don’t want it to be any runnier than that because you don’t want the mixture to spread once it’s piped).

scoop batter into a pastry bag fitted with about a 10mm piping tip, and pipe quarter sized bulbs onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a sheet pan.

tip: if a little nub from where you released the piping bag doesn’t settle into itself, you can use a small paintbrush to tap it down.

tap the bottom of the pan a couple times to prevent any air bubbles while baking. (i actually tap it like 30 times because it's fun and it really does get the air bubbles out)

let your macs sit out for at least 10 minutes before going in the oven. this recipe uses the italian method, and I've read that you really don't have to do this unless you're using the french method. but ever since my successful, crack-less shells from week 10, I will continue to incorporate this step.

bake on your oven’s convection setting at 280° for 15 minutes. for the first 5 minutes with the oven door closed, and the remaining 10 minutes with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open a bit.

let cool completely before filling.

ingredients | peanut butter buttercream + strawberry jelly

unsalted butter                                          1/2 cup
powdered sugar                                        2 cups

vanilla extract                                              1 tsp
creamy peanut butter                          2 tbsp
crunchy peanut butter                        2 tbsp
heavy cream                                                1 tbsp

strawberry jelly                                           amount varies

method | peanut butter buttercream + strawberry jelly

bring butter to room temperature.

place butter and powdered sugar in standing mixer with paddle attachment. mix on 2 until well incorporated.

add peanut butters and mix on 6 for two minutes.

scrape down sides with a spatula and mix on 6 again for another 15 seconds or so until thoroughly mixed together.

add the vanilla, then whip on 8 for 30 seconds.

add whipping cream and turn back to 8 for one minute. the color should lighten a bit once it’s done.

pipe buttercream in a circle on half of the shells, leaving the center open to fill with a blob of jelly.

fill centers with blob of jelly. I found you don't need to overdo it. a small blob goes a long way with these.

refrigerate these guys when you're done. they actually taste better after a day of refrigeration than they do right after baking.

tip: the sizes of all of your shells will tend to be slightly different, so make sure you buddy up your shells to similarly sized partners so that the entire cookie is a consistent size.