MLK Holiday Celebration: “What is your Life’s Blueprint?” & Flourless Peanut Butter Ganache Sandwich Cookies

It’s MLK Day weekend and time to bake a birthday treat and discuss materials with my family in reflection and honoring of the holiday- a tradition in our home.

The Birthday Goody: Every year, for this holiday we make a dessert that has an “integration” theme (usually some kind of chocolate, integrated with other colors/flavors). Here are some of our previous year’s selections.

In these wild Covid days, cookies seemed like the right choice- when we need the comfort & convenience of grabbing a cookie. Last year, Maria- of Two Peas & Their Pod- inspired the cookies we made and this year, she did it again. I was drawn to this recipe because it is a peanut butter cookie (yum), filled with peanut butter buttercream AND chocolate ganache (double yum)…and they are gluten free (a bonus). The cookies are chewy and crumbly, magically made without any flour and filled with the lovely combination of two textures and flavors. While they have 3 parts to them, each is very simple and quick to prepare.  If you are involving friends or family in the baking process, these tasks can be divided amongst people!

George Washington Carver, the inventor of peanut butter and hundreds of other things- including crop rotation and hybrid plants is a hero of mine. You can read more about him here. This cookie gives a nod to the great Mr. Carver, as a hero- overcoming tremendous barriers and injustices to accomplish what he did in his lifetime.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache Sandwich Cookies

by Two Peas & Their Pod

Makes 14-16 sandwich cookies

For the Cookies:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a baking mat. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the peanut butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the baking soda and salt and mix until combined.
  • Spoon dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Smash dough balls with a fork, creating a criss cross. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Don’t overbake. Remove cookies from oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Move to a wire rack and cool completely.
  • While the cookies are cooling, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave, in an microwave safe bowl, for 30-60 seconds, or until cream is hot, but not bubbling. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth and silky ganache. Set aside.
  • Next, make the peanut butter frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until the frosting is creamy and smooth. If you need to add a little more powdered sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency, you can. You want the frosting to be thick.
  • To assemble the sandwich cookies, take one cookie and spread ganache on the inside of the cookie, about 1 1/2 teaspoons. Next, either spread on the peanut butter frosting with a spoon or put the frosting in a pastry bag and pipe the frosting onto the ganache. I like to pipe the frosting. I use about 1 tablespoon of frosting. Top with another cookie and gently squeeze so the ganache and frosting meet the edge of the cookies. Continue until all of your cookies are sandwiched!
  • Note-these cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days.

The Material for our Reflection: The MLK piece we are focusing on this year is Dr. King’s speech to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967, six months before he was assassinated. We have read this before, but not watched the footage of him giving the speech. It is entitled, “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”. My colleague, Dr. Crook, mentioned this video last week and it reminded me of this inspiring speech to young people.

After I watched the speech to preview it, as I filled the cookies, YouTube immediately autoplayed the next video, which was a mash-up of Denzel Washington’s commencement speeches. It is powerful – a modern version of an inspiring speech to young (predominately black) students. We will watch this one too!

[I have found that inviting my family to use paper and markers to take notes while listening is helpful for truly considering and processing what we can take away for our lives today.]

I hope you find a way to honor, reflect upon, and be inspired by Dr. King’s legacy this week.

If you are looking for some books about racial justice, or wonderful books in general written by African American authors, here are some of my favorites from this year:

  • The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee
  • Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
  • The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
  • The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
  • Reading While Black by Esau McCaulley
  • How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby

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