Friday, March 1, 2013

Peanut Butter & Jam Cookies

Peanuts ground to a pasty substance were likely a product of Aztec Native American culture hundreds of years ago.  Although not particularly favored in Europe, peanut butter as we know it today is considered a household staple in the United States.  Like all American kids, I grew up on peanut butter sandwiches.  And, like everybody else, I never seemed to tire of them.  The pairing of nutty, salty peanut butter and sweet fruity jam probably gave rise to my affinity for sweet-salty combinations.  But it's been ages since I've had a peanut butter sandwich so I thought I'd remedy that with this cookie.

This is a shortbread type of peanut butter cookie so it's crisp and crumbly and not terribly sweet.  I love a good intense peanut butter cookie - you know, the kind we all got hooked on as kids - but this one has a subtler flavor.  To bolster the subtlety, the jam and casual slight dip of chocolate bring the bling.

The dough for this simple butter cookie comes together in a food processor, a most favored tool in my kitchen.  Once the dough has had a thorough chilling, the cookies are cut out and baked, then on to the dipping and filling.  Use your very favorite jam.  I'm partial to raspberry.

Bench notes:
- Chill the cookie dough thoroughly so cookies hold their shape when baked.
- Gently gather and re-roll scraps for additional cookies.
- If you're not a fan of jam, fill the cookies with chocolate or enjoy them plain.  Or serve them with your favorite ice cream.
- The cookies will soften when filled, so eat them soon after.  Unfilled and undipped cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
- If you love peanut cookies, you must try this incredible Peanut Cookie Brittle.

Peanut Butter & Jam Cookies
Makes 24 cookies; 12 sandwich cookies

1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 t salt
4 oz (8 T) cold butter
1/4 C peanut butter
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla

2 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 oz (2 T) butter

your favorite jam

Place the flour, powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to combine.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2" pieces and add to the flour mixture along with the peanut butter.  Process until it looks like course meal.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla and process until the dough begins to clump around the center of the machine.

Gather the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap.  Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and roll out to about a 10 1/2" square.  Slide onto a sheet pan and refrigerate until completely chilled.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Remove the sheet of cookie dough from the refrigerator and lift off the plastic wrap from both sides.  Using a 2" square cookie cutter or other similar sized shape, cut out cookies and place on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies until the edges just start to take on some color, about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Cool the pans on a wire rack.

Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a small heatproof bowl.  Add the butter and melt together over a water bath, whisking to thoroughly combine.  Dip a portion of 12 of the cookies in the chocolate, scraping against the side of the bowl to eliminate any extra.  Set on a wire rack to dry.  Spread the other half of the cookies with your favorite jam and sandwich the cookies together.


Kate said...

What a great twist on the PB & J childhood favorite. These look very pretty and the chocolate dipped corner adds an adult pairing with the two flavors. Raspberry would be my choice as well. I do have a question regarding the cookie dough. Do you think it is possible to shape these and chill the dough, slice then bake as we do refrigerator cookies? I once shaped dough in a lined empty waxed paper carton and was wondering your thoughts on trying it with this dough.
Thanks for a great post.

Nishma said...

These look gorgeous! I think I'm missing something though...can't figure out where the peanut butter goes? Thank you for your great blog. Everytime I see an entry, I think "This is the most fabulous thing in the whole entire world." :)

pastry studio said...

Hello, Kate, and thanks for your very good question. Yes, you can certainly form the dough into a round or square log (very interesting tip about the wax paper carton!), chill and then slice about 1/4" thick.

I love the tart acidity of raspberry jam. It always seemed to balance the richness of the peanut butter perfectly.

Cheers and have a fabulous weekend!

pastry studio said...

Oh my gosh, Nishma! Thanks so much for pointing out this glaring omission. So sorry. The peanut butter gets added with the butter. I've amended the instructions.

Thanks again!

Luv'n Spoonfuls said...

I've got a kiddo who is crazy about peanut butter, so I think I will have to give these a try...yum!

Bryan said...

I love a good cookie, these are awesome.
And geez, any excuse to put peanut butter in something is a-okay in my book.
Your previous spiced peanut butter is perfect here.

I had Blenheim jam on hand which worked well (even with the chocolate corner).
The powdered sugar makes a great texture. Very nice.
These have so much potential, too-- other nut butters, infinite fillings.

I also made single-layer cookies and played around with light sugar and salt toppings.
Thanks for this fun treat!

pastry studio said...

I always love your embellishments, Bryan! I was also tempted to just leave them plain with a sprinkle of raw sugar on top. Or maybe some chile powder!

Maggie @ A Bitchin Kitchen said...

Hi there - sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this person stole your content:

You may want to check the rest of their site too, since I found at least 4 of my recipes stolen and reposted on there :(

You can submit a complaint to Google here if you want, and they will most likely remove the infringing content:

pastry studio said...

Maggie, thanks so much for your note. This is so annoying and it happens all too frequently. Sorry it's happening to you, too. I appreciate the link to Google.

Thanks again.