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white-chocolate-coated peanut butter & shortbread cookies (fake tagalongs)

February 23, 2011

It’s Girl Scout cookie season.  I’m stuck here in New England, clear across the country from my sister, who is still a Girl Scout and sells those delicious cookies.  And I have no car, which means I can’t search grocery stores on a Saturday afternoon for Girl Scout cookie booths.  Although now I hear there’s an app for that.

Anyway, last year, I did order cookies from my sister – whereas this year, I’m waiting till I go home for spring break and I can shop among her troop’s leftovers.  The beloved carnivore and I had only just started dating – I know, time flies – and upon request, I ordered a box of Tagalongs for him.   Despite many years as a Girl Scout, I myself had never eaten a Tagalong before then, at least not that I recall.  I am strictly a Samoas, Thin Mints, and Trefoils person – and in that order.  I tried one of his, and I wasn’t in love with it, I gotta say.  Mostly because it was not a Samoa.

For Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d make the beloved carnivore some homemade cookies that resemble Tagalongs, since they’re his favorite and I’d seen some “fake Tagalong” recipes around the interwebs.  But I wanted to make a white chocolate version, because he loves white chocolate and peanut butter.  His grandmother makes these yummy things for him that are Ritz crackers with peanut butter in the middle and dipped in white chocolate.

Of course, I got too busy around Valentine’s Day, so instead I made them for our engagement party.  That meant he had to share, which is generally not something he enjoys doing when it comes to cookies (though in many other ways, he is generous, so generous)

Special Note: This recipe is meant for people who want to make white chocolate Tagalong-type cookies, which are unavailable from Girl Scouts, or for people who are completely deprived of Girl Scout cookies and want to follow the alternative directions for the standard, semisweet chocolate version.  If your neighbor is a Girl Scout, or your coworker’s daughter is a Girl Scout, or you pass Girl Scouts at a grocery store, buy cookies from them, please.  As a former Girl Scout, I can say that the organization does a whole lot of good for young girls.  And I’m not getting paid to say that.

I will also note that the beloved carnivore and Tagalongs-enthusiast wholeheartedly approved of these and even said that the filling was “perfect.”   That’s right.  “Perfect.”  Beat that.    The leftover cookies sure kept him quiet while I read about securities regulation . . .

White-Chocolate-Coated Peanut Butter & Shortbread Cookies (Fake Tagalongs)

Adapted from Baking Bites and Chow

Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBSP milk (skim works fine)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt (if using natural peanut butter, which I don’t recommend as it separates so easily)

Chocolate Coating

  • 2 12-oz bags of white chocolate chips (or semi-sweet chocolate chips if going for a more traditional taste)
  • 1 to 2 TBSP vegetable oil or other flavorless cooking oil

Baking and Assembly:


  1. In a medium to large bowl, preferably the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in two batches, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla and milk and mix well.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (or leave the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap).  Chill for two hours or until firm.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Grab a small piece of the dough and roll it into a 1 inch ball.  Place on the cookie sheet and press down to make a disc about 1/4 inch thick.  I found that, because of all the butter, I couldn’t use my hands for this step without them getting too sticky, so I used a measuring cup and flattened the dough down (often I then had to peel the disc of dough off of the bottom of the measuring cup).
  9. Repeat with more dough until you’ve filled the baking sheet, leaving about an inch and a half in between each disc of dough.
  10. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges look browned.  The cookie will still be quite soft but will pass the toothpick/cake tester test.
  11. Using the bottom of a spoon, make an indentation in the middle of each cookie.  You’re making a well which will be filled with peanut butter frosting.  Mmmm.
  12. Remove the cookies from the sheet and place on a cooling rack.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, you can begin the next phase of assembly.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  1. Cream together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. Spoon some of frosting over a cooled cookie and spread it across the cookie, making sure it has a level surface (otherwise the cookie, once coated, will be quite uneven looking – white chocolate does not cover a multitude of sins).
  3. Chill the frosted cookies in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour or until the frosting on top of the cookies is nice and firm.  The longer you can let them chill, the better, as the peanut butter frosting will be less likely to melt in the chocolate coating.

White (or Semi-Sweet Chocolate) Coating

  1. If you have a double boiler, bring some water to a boil in the bottom part of the double boiler.  If you don’t have a double boiler, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Reduce the heat enough that the water is simmering rather than boiling.
  3. Pour the white chocolate chips (or semi-sweet chocolate chips) into the top part of the double-boiler or, if you don’t have a double boiler, into a heat-safe mixing bowl.
  4. Place the top part of the double-boiler or the mixing bowl over the simmering water.
  5. Stir the chocolate regularly until it’s completely melted.
  6. Remove the pan from heat but leave the melted chocolate over the hot water.
  7. Add in 1 TBSP of vegetable oil and stir well.

You’re Almost There (Dipping the Cookies in the Chocolate)

  1. Working quickly, line a large plate or another cookie sheet with wax paper and get out a wooden spoon and a fork.
  2. Remove the cookies from the fridge and drop them in the melted chocolate – don’t let them fall in face-down or the peanut butter will melt too quickly.   Use a wooden spoon or other utensil to spoon some of the melted chocolate over the top of the cookie until it’s evenly coated.
  3. Use the for to lift the coated cookie out of the melted chocolate, doing your best to drain off any excess chocolate holding the coated cookie up against the inside of the pot and tilting it slightly so that excess chocolate slides off.  Set the cookie on the wax paper.
  4. Repeat until all of the cookies are coated.  Stir the chocolate frequently and add another tablespoon of vegetable oil if it becomes too thick for dipping.

Do not let certain, well-meaning individuals try their hand at the dipping.  In the photo below, you can kinda tell which cookie was made by a certain well-meaning individual – it stands out (but I love you!)

These cookies keep well in the fridge.  Warn your guests that because the chocolate isn’t tempered, they might have to lick their fingers if the cookies have been sitting out for a while.  Alternatively, you can use baking chocolate and temper it.


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