As a teenager I had a pretty heavy addiction to peanut butter and jam on toast. Smooth peanut butter was my favourite, but I wouldn’t say no to smooth. My mum used to buy a lovely cherry jam with big glossy pieces of fruit that burst in your mouth. All of this topped off with a big steaming mug of tea.
I’d gotten past this addiction, (re-built my life, etc) until I saw this recipe for peanut butter and jam cookies. Now there’s every chance it will take over once more, in which case you will never hear from me again because I’ll be on the street all crazy-eyed, looking for my next PB&J fix and going altogether off the rails. But until that happens, check out these cookies …
As I mentioned here, I have a little problem with sticking my fingers into foods before they’re done. Sauces and melted chocolate are my particular nemeses. So imagine my joy in baking a recipe that positively encourages finger poking! I followed a recipe from Nigella Lawsons’ How to Be A Domestic Goddess. I don’t know about the Goddess bit, but I’m certainly now a provider of many ultra-gorgeous little PB&J cookies, and that’s nothing to sniff at.
The cookies are nothing more than a base of butter, sugars, eggs, flour and baking powder, which is mixed into a sticky dough and left in the fridge to firm up. Then you just pinch little balls of dough, flatten them down slightly and – yes! – poke your thumb into the middle to create a good dent.
The cookies bake in just 10-15 minutes, then out they come to receive the jam, which is spooned into the thumb prints while the cookies are still hot. The jam melts just a touch, settling itself into place, then firms ever so slightly on cooling. All together now .. OM NOM NOM NOM.
Here’s the recipe I followed:
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 125g soft light brown sugar or light muscovado
- 200g smooth peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- enough strawberry jam for 50 coffee-spoon-sized splodges
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars, and add the peanut butter, beating to combine, then the eggs and vanilla.
3. Mix in the flour, baking pwder and salt to make a damp, sticky dough, and put it in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour, the bowl covered with cling-film.
4. Once it’s firmed up a bit, pinch off small amounts of dough, about as much as would make a scant tablespoonful, and roll between the palms of your hands into small balls. Place them on a baking tray, flatten slightly, and then make the thumb print in the middle of each biscuit. Make sure you make the thumbprint nice and deep, or it will disappear during baking.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, by which time they should be just cooked. It doesn’t matter if they’re a bit soft, as they’ll firm up on cooling, but check the underside of one to make sure they’re no longer actually doughy.
6. As soon as they come out of the oven, spoon a little bit of jam into each thumb print. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool, by which time the jam will have melted slightly.
7. Leave to cool, and then .. enjoy !