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.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints (printable recipe)
Recipe barely tweaked from Bella Eats who got her recipe for the cookies from foodnetwork.com

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
1 egg
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.

6 responses to “pb+j

  1. I’m glad you liked them! Perfect celebration cookies. 🙂 I agree with you that the natural peanut butter would probably help the texture. I think you also mentioned on my post that the dough was a little soft and tacky, probably a result of the different peanut butter too. Did you love the oats?!? I think they add so much to the chewiness of the cookie…yum. 🙂

  2. Oh those really look yummy. I have baked pb+j cookies only once in my life 😦 I’m looking at your cookies and thinking I should preheat my oven NOW and start baking 🙂 ps: I love the idea of passing recipes “from hands to hands” – Happy baking!

  3. SO YUMMY! 🙂 Thanks for coming out to celebrate my birthday – you’re right, we don’t see each other nearly as much. Now, to plan my Halloween costume… bwahahaha…

  4. I am just finishing my last batch of grape jam. I think it would be the perfect option for this recipe. Yum!

  5. Hey Whitney,

    First off, these cookies look delicious! Peanut butter sandwiches in the form of cookies? Yesplease!

    And I just want to let you know that I definitely feel for you trying to find a job in Chicago right now. I just stopped working for the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (a legal aid agency in the city with a lot of pro bono attorneys. which means a lot of recent graduates) and the horror stories of recent law grads and the job hunt really breaks my heart. Plus my sister, who just passed the bar a summer and a half ago, still hasn’t been able to find a real legal job in Illinois. It’s been all doc review and temp work with obnoxious, asshole solo practitioners. Someone seriously needs to throw a bone to recent graduates.

    Anyway, good luck and keep up the awesome blogging while you’re at it!

  6. Andrea-I’m using natural next time.

    Jennifer-I hope you tried them!

    Emily-The job market is pretty bad. Its just so hard because there are so many people with plenty of talent that are just waiting for the opportunity to use it.

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