Cookie Monster: Peanut Butter Oat Cookies with Salted Honey Buttercream
About a month ago, fellow SE editor Jamie and I popped into Nolita Mart to chat over a cup of joe. We had already put in our order when I wandered over to the cookie case. "Oh," I said, "those look good." In one glass jar was a pile of salted honey peanut butter cookies. Correctly interpreting my "observation" as a request, Jamie quickly added a cookie to our order.
The cookie was good but a little dry and, flavor-wise, nothing too special. As I ate it, I couldn't help but think about the unexplored potential of that flavor combination. Salt. Peanut butter. Honey. There has to be a better way to do this. So I went home and got to work.
The thing about baking with honey is that it rarely tastes enough like honey. It easily hides behind the other ingredients and ends up tasting indistinguishable from plain sugar. To tackle this problem, I decided to separate it out from the peanut butter and not bake it at all.
That meant the first step was to make some peanut butter cookies. Because they were acting as the bookends in sandwich cookies, these particular ones needed to be a little chewy. Enter flourless PB cookies—they're all about the peanut butter taste, with the perfect chewy texture. I added oats to give the cookies a bit more body and to help counteract the sweetness that the frosting would add.
About that frosting: the buttercream can be tailored to your taste. Add more salt if you like really salty sweets, and choose your favorite variety of honey. Just make sure to use a honey with a strong flavor—I personally choose a local wildflower honey that's got a deep amber color and potent taste. To keep the sandwiches from being too sweet, I go pretty light on the amount of buttercream per sandwich, just about a teaspoon. That way, you get the indulgence of a sandwich cookie without hurting your teeth.