These cookies don't require a lot of a active time, but they need a lot of chilling time, so it's easiest if you make the recipe a two- (or three-) day project. On day one, you make the peanut butter cookie dough. It's pretty straightforward: beat butter, sugar, dark brown sugar, oil, and peanut butter until light and fluffy; add an egg, an egg yolk, and vanilla; and incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). You divide the dough into two parts, form them into disks, wrap them in plastic, and chill them for at least three hours and up to 24.
When the dough is chilled, you roll each portion into a small rectangle and brush on dark chocolate that has been melted with a little bit of corn syrup. The amount of chocolate seemed excessive, because you use 12 ounces of chocolate to cover two small slabs of dough (the recipe says each rectangle should be about 9-1/2 inches by 7-1/2 inches, but I ended up with 9-inch squares of dough).
Rolling up the dough around the chocolate was a messy process, because there was so much chocolate that it ended up spilling out from the sides and end of the roll. The dough was actually quite pliable and I didn't have any problems with the dough cracking or breaking. But after I got chocolate everywhere rolling up the first slab of dough, I was parsimonious with the chocolate for the remaining cookies (I made two batches of cookies, so I had four rolls of dough total). I wrapped the rolls in parchment and stuck them in the fridge for 24 hours.
On day two, the rolls of dough were very firm and ready to cut. I had slid small metal cake rings around the logs of dough before putting them in the refrigerator, so they retained a nice round shape (instead of flattening out on the bottom, which tends to happen with slice and bake cookies). The chocolate spiral inside the cookie dough was hard, like a chocolate chip. But I got out my sharpest knife (a Global chef's knife) and I was able to get clean slices without a problem.
I cut the slices quite thick, and I was surprised how much the cookies spread in the oven. But the end product was a nice, flat, round cookie with a beautiful chocolate "C" in the middle. The cookies from the subsequent logs of cookies -- where I had skimped on the chocolate to keep things tidy -- had a rather anemic pencil-thin line of chocolate, instead of the calligraphy "C" I got with the chocolate overload. In the future, I'm sticking with the chocolate overload, because the result is so much prettier.
This is a outstanding cookie. It was soft and moist, with a wonderful, clean peanut butter flavor. I made one batch with Skippy dark chocolate peanut spread -- I happened to have a jar on hand -- just to see what would happen. Those cookies weren't bad, but they were not peanut butter-y enough, and the ones made with plain peanut butter were definitely better.
At first I was thinking that the chocolate swirl was more trouble than it was worth, because it would have been a lot easier to just make a peanut butter drop cookie with chocolate chips in the batter. But the chocolate swirl is a really unique and delicious feature, and I can definitely see myself making these cookies again. After all, there is a certain aspect of convenience to a slice and bake cookie, since you can make the dough ahead of time. And my tasters loved the cookies, even the ones without much chocolate.
"C" is for cookie, and that's good enough for me!