Thursday, May 8, 2008

PB&J at Play

Perhaps it’s the long sunny days we’ve been enjoying, or it could be all the Yeats poetry I’ve been reading, but lately I’ve been overcome with a playfulness that I think has also been advanced by the rows of pink tulips that I see every morning at the bodega near my apartment. Earlier this week, I realized that I needed, as soon as possible, to find a recipe that’s positively dripping of whimsy, while I’m so full of it.

What I came across struck my fancy right away as fun and lighthearted, but because I tend to take my cookies rather seriously, also an opportunity to branch out from my regular baking gamut.

Yeats himself had declared the times just before sunrise and just after sunset the most enchanting of the day, when the world was most prone to acts of magic and the Sidhe (fairies). I reminded myself of that this morning at 5:30, when unable to fall back asleep, I got started with my baking instead.

And these cookies were certainly different; the first bite is a sweet hit of the fruit preserves, and the peanut butter flavor kicks in a short moment later (perfect for breakfast, no?)

I can imagine these Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints being a delightful dessert in a child’s lunchbox, but I can likewise see them as a novel treat that will bring a smile to the faces of friends who have become accustom to the conventional when it comes to baked goods. I won’t be presenting these at the former any time soon, so I hope I’m correct with my assumption about the latter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

Courtesy of Cooking Light

Yield: About 3 dozen cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
7 tablespoons preserves, any variety
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt, stirring well with a whisk; set aside.
Place sugars, peanut butter, and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until combined.
Lightly coat hands with cooking spray. Shape dough into 36 balls (about 2 1/2 teaspoons each). Place balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each dough ball, leaving an indentation. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from pans, and cool on a wire rack.
Place preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave 20 seconds, stirring once. Add juice, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon preserves mixture into the center of each cookie.

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