Peanut butter blossoms are peanut butter cookies topped with a chocolate candy kiss, creating the appearance of a flower with a dark center and giving this cookie its name. There are several variations on the recipe, but the best known uses a straightforward peanut butter cookie recipe. Several minutes before these cookies are done baking in the oven, they are removed and a single candy kiss is placed in the center of each cookie. The cookies are then returned to the oven for a few minutes so that they can brown, but are removed before the chocolate melts and loses its shape. While the recipe is not particularly difficult, because of their striking appearance, these cookies are frequently served during the winter holidays.
Many people follow the standard peanut butter blossoms recipe of a peanut butter sugar cookie topped with the candy kiss made from milk chocolate, but many variations exist. For example, some recipes produce a much softer, chewier peanut butter cookie as the base for the blossoms. Other variations involve differences in the chocolate topping, with some recipes using a dark chocolate kiss, squares of chocolate, or even a drizzle of chocolate. This last option, however, is not particularly popular, as part of the flavor profile of peanut butter blossoms is the strong jolt of chocolate that a person experiences while eating one of these cookies.
One of the most interesting aspects of peanut butter blossoms is the fact that they are considered to be a traditional winter holiday cookie in the United States. This is despite the fact that they resemble sunflowers or blackeyed Susans rather than traditional holiday symbols. They are very attractive cookies, however, and this likely contributes to their status as a special occasion cookie.
Another reason why peanut butter blossoms are generally made for special occasions is that special care must be taken to insert the kisses into the cookies at the correct time. Many recipes require the cook to remove a hot tray of cookies from the oven and then quickly and nimbly insert the chocolate pieces into the cookies before returning the tray to the oven. This is a tricky process, because the cook must then watch the cookies to make sure that they brown correctly while not over-baking and causing the kisses to melt and lose their shape. Finally, peanut butter blossoms can be difficult to store, as they cannot be stacked on top of each other and there is a concern about marring the surface of the chocolate kiss.