Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards

It’s another “Reveal Day” for the Secret Recipe Club!  Every month members of the club are assigned another member’s blog—secretly, of course, and we browse to our heart’s content until we find a recipe we want to make and post.  On Reveal Day, everyone gets to discover our fellow members’ secret assignments.  It’s a lot of fun for us foodies, and we all enjoy seeing who was assigned our blogs and what they chose to make.

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned Anne Jisca’s Healthy Pursuits.  She and her husband live in Ontario with their two young sons.  I am always in awe of food blogger moms with very young children.  That’s a juggling act I can’t imagine having done when my kids were little.

If you are into alternative grains, Anne’s site is one you’ll want to investigate.  I was torn between making her Chocolate Spelt Fudge Cake and her Quinoa Fudge Sour Cream Cake, but then I spotted these peanut butter and mocha checkerboards.  I am a big fan of peanut butter and chocolate and find the combination irresistible.

Since there are both chilling and freezing required to make these cookies, I planned accordingly.  But you know what they say about the “best laid plans.”  I had the dough made and divided and then suddenly discovered that my refrigerator and freezer were not working. Gah!

So, in between Roger and I dealing with the food about to thaw and/or spoil, I decided to forge ahead with the cookies, skipping the chilling/freezing instructions.  As a result, I had to work with a really soft cookie dough.  There was no impact on taste—just on appearance since I was unable to make clean cuts to make pretty checkerboards.   Because it was so soft, the dough smeared when I made the knife cuts.  All things considered, it worked out OK.  You’ll just have to imagine cleaner, straighter lines on the checkerboards.

I was surprised at how strong the peanut butter flavor was considering that there are a mere two tablespoons of peanut butter in the recipe.  It is a tender, buttery shortbread square and not overly sweet.  Perfect with a cup of tea or glass of milk!

One year ago:  SSC Brownies

Peanut Butter and Mocha Checkerboards

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  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 tbl. solid shortening
  • 2 tbl. creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbl. freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped


In a large bowl combine butter, shortening, and peanut butter.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add sugar.  Beat until mixture is combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in the one egg, the coffee, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt until combined.  Gradually beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Divide dough in half.  Stir 2 ounces melted chocolate into one dough portion.  Cover and chill both dough portions about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Place each dough portion between two sheets of waxed paper.  Roll each portion into a 5-inch square.

Remove top layers of waxed paper.  Brush the top of the chocolate dough with beaten egg white.

Carefully invert peanut butter dough on top of the chocolate dough.

Remove waxed paper.  Trim edges to make a 4-1/2-inch square.

Wrap dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Cover and freeze about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

Cut dough square into six 4-1/2×3/4-inch strips.

Working carefully, but quickly, lay one strip, cut side down, on a work surface and brush with egg white.  Top with another strip, cut side down, so that the opposite colors/flavors meet; transfer the stack to a baking sheet or tray.  Repeat with the remaining strips to make three stacks total

Cover and freeze about 30 minutes or until dough is firm enough to slice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut each stack crosswise into about 1/4-inch slices.  Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and cookies are set.

Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.

In a small saucepan heat and stir 2 ounces chopped chocolate over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Place melted chocolate in a resealable plastic bag.  Snip a small hole in one corner of the bag.  Squeeze the bag, piping bows or desired designs on cookie tops.  Let stand until chocolate sets.

Fran’s Notes

Because of the refrigerator brouhaha, I did not have the time or energy to make a chocolate design on the cookies.  I’m sure the cookie would be enhanced by it—more chocolate makes everything better in my book.  I’m also thinking of tweaking this recipe to make a mint and chocolate checkerboard combo for Christmas.  Only 3 more months to go–time to start thinking about those Christmas cookies!

Source:   A recipe from Anne Jisca’s blog

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