This past weekend, I celebrated a good friend’s 25th Birthday. Now that we have graduated and passed the Bar, I don’t see my law school friends nearly enough and I know it will only get worse once we all finally find jobs and begin our careers. I knew that I wanted to bake something for Susan and that I didn’t want to make a cake because I learned that it can be a tad difficult to serve up over beers at a bar.
When I turned 25, I remember thinking that I really should now think of myself as an “adult” and I desperately wanted to hang onto my youth. Since Susan was also approaching this quarter-century milestone, I wanted to bake her something youthful and a little bit whimsical. And then I remembered just the cookies: peanut butter and jelly thumbprints invented by my good friend Andrea at Bella Eats.
It was the perfect peanut butter cookie: not too sweet, a little soft and crumbly, with some homemade strawberry jam in the center. I packed them up in layers, with some parchment in between and brought them with me to the bar. My friends munched on them in between games of pool and darts and catching up after the many weeks since our daily bar review hell.
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1/2-cup creamy, natural peanut butter (I used Jiffy because its what I had, natural might have given better texture)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup high-quality fruit jam (I used homemade strawberry)
Preheat oven to 350* and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Cream the butter and peanut butter together in an electric mixer on high speed. Add the sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the mixture is fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and oats together in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture. Mix until well combined.
Roll dough into 1-inch diameter balls and place on baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. The dough was rather sticky when I first started doing this and it benefitted from sitting out for 30 minutes. Using your pinkie finger, make a deep indentation in the top of each dough ball, being careful not to press all the way down to the baking sheet. You want the ball to be fat rather than wide. My first batch spread out too much to have a good thumbprint. (still delicious to eat the pieces dipped in jam; not that I did it or anything)
Bake in the top half of the oven until cookies are golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and re-shape indentations while cookies are still pliable, if needed. I used the bottom of a tablespoon measuring spoon which worked well. Let cool completely.
Once the cookies are cool, place on countertop or a new baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Spoon a teaspoonful of jam into each cookie.