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Here we are, 3rd week into January (what?!) and everyone is still teetering on the edge of salads and smoothies, giving some leeway to the resolve of new eating habits.

I love a green smoothie and a crunchy salad like the rest of them, but let’s face it, sometimes, you need cookies.  Not just, “oh geez I found this little cookie in the breakroom, I guess I want to eat it” cookie, but a “WHOA that felt like a bear hug wrapped in a plate of hashbrowns with a side of gab session with my BFF” cookie.

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These cookies became much more of a labor of love than I had originally intended them to be.  They started out as Nutella stuffed cookies, but..oh wait,  my Nutella was eaten by the cabinet monster, so there went that one.  Next, I wanted to stuff them with a vegan caramel sauce, but my blender refused to bring the mixture together as planned (might be time for a food processor, oy!).

So there I was, standing over my kitchen counter with an entire batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookie batter, wondering what to stuff it with. Don’t get me wrong, I love a chocolate chip cookie, but this just needed a little oomph to them.  A little something extra to take them to the next height of cookie greatness.

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Enter: Peanut Butter.  Peanut butter is a great, pliable filler when frozen for 15 minutes or so, creating a  center that will still slightly melt when baked, but hold a substantial shape.   If you are impatient (like me), you can easily smash out the cookie batter and plop a smear of peanut butter in the middle, but it makes the forming of the cookie just slightly more difficult.  Regardless, putting peanut butter inside a cookie is never a mistake, so do what works!

These cookies are best under baked, to prevent the peanut butter center from drying out and becoming grainy.  As long as the tops are slightly browned, you are good to go.

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 banana, finely mashed (no chunks)

1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli is sometimes vegan!)

1 cup peanut butter

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peanut butter in a small bowl, place in freezer while mixing the cookie dough.

2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl, set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix banana, brown sugar, and Earth Balance on medium speed, until thoroughly blended.

3.  Slowly add in dry ingredients while mixing on low, until thoroughly combined.

4.  Mix in chocolate chips until just combined, being careful to not mix too heavily, or the chocolate chips will break apart.

5. Form small balls (about 1/4 cup) of the dough and flatten enough to allow for filling, they will look like cookie pancakes. I fit about 6 cookies to one cookie sheet.  Roll frozen peanut butter into tablespoon sized balls and place in the middle of flattened cookie dough.

6.  Fold cookie dough up and around the peanut butter balls, tucking edges under and forming a cookie ball shape.  Slightly flatten tops of cookies.

7.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, making sure not to overbake.

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