Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies...and a very special birthday!

I've talked before about how my very favorite part of blogging is something that I never, ever expected.  I always thought the sugar would be the highlight of blogging, but's the people I've had the pleasure to meet.

That leads me to Jessica from the blog, How Sweet It Is
Jessica is having a milestone birthday today...

{Ahhh, I remember 30.  Kinda.}

Now, Jessica has been one of my favorite bloggers for a long time.  I love this girl.  I admire Jessica for her amazingly creative and delicious recipes...her stunning photography...her hilarious sense of humor and writing...her impeccable style...her blogging and social media smarts...and her beautiful, fun spirit.

{Jessica...this hot pink was as close as I could get to neon. ;)}

In August, I met Jessica and I can tell you, she's even more lovely in person.  (I won't hold it against her that she was BORN just about the same time I was going to see Grease 2 (2!) with my fellow 13-year-old girlfriends.)  I wanted to make a little something to celebrate her big day.

I just had this inkling that Jessica likes peanut butter and chocolate.  Maybe it was Jessica's Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups, or Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle, or maybe Peanut Butter S'mores Squares...I sensed a trend.

So, I made cookies.  I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies.  And, y' need to make them, too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies for Jessica
{makes 12-18, depending on size}

2 & 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not all-natural)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a paddle attachment to beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the peanut butter until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In three additions, add in the flour mixture beating on low until just combined.  Scrape the bowl to incorporate any dry bits on the bottom of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half, form into two discs, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Mix flour and cocoa powder together to coat the rolling pin and rolling surface.  Roll the dough to about 1/4"-3/8" thickness.  Freeze the cut-outs on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake for 9-12 minutes.  Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as desired with royal icing.

OH!  And, Jessica?  I ate them for you, too. ;)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sweet girl!!!

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