You'd be lying if you said you've never had a classic PB&J sandwich... at least, if you live in America you would be. If you grew up in Italy and England like myself, there would be a pretty good chance you had never tried one of these American classics til you were... like... 16. And babysitting. And the kids you were babysitting would beg you to make them PB&J for lunch everysingleday. I grew up on Nutella sandwiches, but even if I do snob a good ol' peanut butter jelly sandwich most of the time, I actually like them. Like, ALOT. But I will never admit it. Because peanut butter is super calorie- and fat-dense. And I am a big health nut! I mean, not that you would ever think that lookin at this here blog, but I am a nutritional nazi. I am ALWAYS trying to find tasty healthier alternatives to foods my family and I like to eat. I eat a ton of fruit and vegetables and I take my vitamins every day. And then, I come home, and bake, and eat like, one thing. I make cookies? I seriously eat one. My brother always complains that I make a ton of stuff and never eat it. 🙂 Ehehe. I gotta keep my girlish figure.
What I find very ironic about my peanut butter snobbing is that it has never stopped me from doing things like slathering ultra-rich chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting, and topping that with chocolate ganache. Hm. I am a strange one. ANYWAYS, what am I even talking about right now... The other day, I was tired and pressed for time and I had plenty of homework, and yet, I wanted to bake. SO BADLY. I even posted on Twitter that I wanted to bake but I was probably not going to bother taking pictures and blogging about it. Then, these delicious babies came out of the oven and they were so cute and delicious that I couldn't help myself and took pictures of them anyways. And now, here I am, sharing the recipe with you! They're so good. I couldn't keep these locked up.
I imagine these would have been the epitome of perfect "dessert reminiscent of m my childhood" sort of thing with classic grape jelly or jam, but like I said, 'I don't like peanut butter and jelly.' So we didn't have any in the house. What I did have was some seriously delicious Bonne Maman four fruits jam, which I happily used! Also, I found out that if you make the indentations in the middle of the cookies almost too big, after they bake, they look like tiny little rustic tarts. If you want to be a normal person and just do regular small indentations and have classic thumbprint cookies, go for it. But I thought the "mini tart" look was quite adorable. 🙂
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
Adapted from 1 Dough, 100 Cookies
Yields: 3 dozen small cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
heaping ½ cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup creamy peanut butter (not natural or old-fashioned!)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
grape or berry jam, as needed
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners (or just do rotations; bake two at a time and the third one later).
Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl and mix together well with a wooden spoon, then beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and peanut butter. Sift in the flours and salt, and stir until thoroughly combined.
Scoop out tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, putting 12 per sheet, spaced evenly. The dough is pretty sticky, so I found using a nonstick-sprayed cookie scoop worked really well. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make indentations in the middle of each cookie, and fill each hollow with the jam of your choice.
Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cookie rack to finish cooling completely.
These are super thick and rich, so milk is not even optional. It's necessary. But they're really good! A bit different than the usual way you eat peanut butter and jelly, but delicious nonetheless. 🙂