3/4cupgranulated sugardivided (1/4 cup for the cookies, 1/2 cup for rolling)
1/2cuplightly packed dark brown sugar
1large eggat room temperature
3/4cupcreamy peanut butterI do not recommend the natural-style peanut butter made from only peanuts or peanuts and salt, as it is less predictable in baking
1 1/2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
24chocolate kiss candiesunwrapped (about half of an 11-ounce bag)
Set out a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat the butter in a small, light-colored saucepan over medium low. This will take several minutes. Continue to heat until butter melts completely, foams and crackles, turns clear golden (the crackling will stop), then turns toasty brown, swirling the pan periodically. This entire process will take 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon your pan. Once the butter begins to smell lightly nutty, whisk it frequently, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Watch the pan carefully in the last few minutes to ensure that the butter does not burn. As soon as the bits of butter in the bottom of the pan turn the color of a pecan, remove the butter from the heat and pour it immediately into the reserved mixing bowl to prevent the butter from burning. Let the butter cool to room temperature. IT MUST COOL before you add any other ingredients to it. If you like, you can speed this process along by putting the bowl in the refrigerator.
While the butter cools, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt.
Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is well combined, about 1 full minute. Add the egg and beat again until combined, about 1 minute more, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract, then beat on medium-high speed until fully combined.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients into the bowl. Beat on low speed, just until the flour disappears. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. (Overnight is recommended). Do not skip chilling the full time, as the butter needs to resolidify and the dry ingredients absorb the wet for the cookies to have the right texture and flavor.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is soft enough to easily scoop and roll.
Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Place the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a shallow dish or bowl. (A pie dish is perfect.)
Once the dough has rested, portion it by 1 tablespoonfuls and roll it into dough balls. Roll each ball in the sugar and arrange on the baking sheet, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 12 minutes, or until the tops are barely beginning to crack. If your oven has hot spots or tends to bake a little unevenly, switch the pans’ positions halfway through. Remove the cookies from the oven and place the sheets on a wire cooling rack. Let cool on the sheet for 3 minutes.
Press a chocolate kiss candy into the center of each cookie, then transfer the cookies from the baking sheet directly onto the wire rack. Let the cookies cool completely if you’d like the kiss to harden, or dive right in and enjoy the delicious, melty mess.
TO STORE: Store cooked and cooled peanut butter blossoms in an airtight storage container at room temperature.
TO FREEZE AFTER BAKING: In the event of leftovers, an influx of cookies, or your own baking zeal outpacing what your family can eat, peanut butter blossom cookies can be frozen. Fully bake them (including adding the kiss). Let the cookies cool to completely to room temperature, then freeze in an airtight bag.
TO FREEZE BEFORE BAKING: You can also portion the dough into balls, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then pop the entire sheet into the freezer. Once the cookie dough balls harden, transfer them to an airtight bag. Bake directly from frozen.