Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

Sweet Recipes, Winter • 19 Mar 2013

Without familiar creature comforts we would be lost souls, bobbing in a sea of solitude and yearning. The exotic and esoteric enrich our personal histories, but as the years progress, I find myself yearning for the prosaic, the quotidian. Some days it manifests in a craving; a simple, practically unremarkable morsel that once sweetened my post-school snack. Some days I desire a poetic peep through my memory box, a tangled mess of childhood heirlooms buried in a dusty closet corner.

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For many, peanut butter and jelly is that classic combination that transports us to a time when pigtails and cartoons reined the earth and adulthood was an abstract pipedream. We noshed on crumbly, sticky sandwiches, crusts lovingly purged, as we donned our moms’ voluminous formalwear and clumsily clicked across the living room floor in her oversized pumps.

As we approach our son’s impending third birthday, I see the tables turning. He dresses up in our comically grandiose shoes, loves wearing mama’s billowy white shirts when he plays pirate and unknowingly forges ahead, blissfully incognizant of his impending adulthood. His favorite sweet snack is mini peanut butter “cakes”, little round cookies, signed with a gentle fork indentation, and layered with jam-infused marshmallow cream.

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I created a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookie recipe to add to my son’s collection of childhood baking memories, a hand-written, tangible heirloom for his retrospection. Almond flour gives the cookies a rich nuttiness while molasses deepens the flavors and imparts moistness often absent in flaky, crumbly peanut butter cookies. The resulting gem is chewy and toothsome and hyperbolically nutty. The smooth and sugary filling is laced with fruity blackberry jam and airy marshmallow cream.

A humble cookie, lovingly crafted for my beloved child. It speaks of youth’s simple pleasures yet warrants grown-up plaudits. The sandwiches fill our adult bellies with remembrance of tender innocence and leave a jubilant cream-laced mustache on my boy’s nascent face.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond four
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Filling:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup marshmallow cream
2 tablespoons blackberry, grape or strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy. Add the molasses, peanut butter, egg and vanilla and beat about a minute on medium-low speed until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in about 3 batches, and mix gently using a rubber spatula.

4. Portion the dough using 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie. Roll each cookie into a ball and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and then gently with a fork, in a criss-cross pattern. Place cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets, about 9- 12 cookies per sheet. Bake until golden but still chewy, about 8 minutes. If the baking sheets do not fit side by side in the oven, rotate the pans between racks after 4 minutes.

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them with a thin spatula to a wire rack. Bake second batch of cookies and cool completely before filling them.

6. While the cookies cool, mix shortening and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add marshmallow cream and jam and blend until smooth.

7. To make the sandwiches, turn cookies upside down. Spread about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of half the cookies. Place the second cookie on top of the filling and press down lightly. Repeat until all the cookies are assembled.

8. Store cookies in an air tight container for about 5 days.

Yield: Makes 45-50 individual 2-inch cookies, and about 25 sandwich cookies.

One Response

  1. Mira

    They are so delicious … I have had one!

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