Posts like these are what I love most about this little blog of mine. The creative process involved with developing recipe ideas is extremely rewarding – and it’s such a great escape from my left-brain dominant days in dental school. The process for these cookies went something like this: a few years ago I came across the method of forming sugar cookie dough into a loaf form and then cutting little slices to look like bread. Then at some later time I thought, hmm what if I used peanut butter flavored dough. And filled them with jelly. And then maybe I could use food coloring to paint on “crusts”! And all of this is eventually followed by giggles and giddy dancing that Ryan gets the privilege of witnessing every so often. I truly was giddy after finishing this batch of cookies – they are so freaking cute and everything I hoped they would be as I was dreaming them up! And the fact that I had them ready for Back to School season just puts it all over the top :)
If you scroll down to the recipe instructions, you’ll see a photo of the “loaf” of cookie dough I formed to make these little slices of cookie bread. No little cookie cutter required for these babies! Which also means no rolling dough out onto your counter. Which of course means no cleaning up flour from all surrounding surfaces. Win, win, win. Doesn’t hurt that the resulting product is also really yummy – the perfect balance of salty peanut butter flavor worked into the cookie dough combined with the sweet jelly filling. Although PB&J’s are regarded as kiddie food, it’s one of my favorite sandwiches that I crave often. We don’t keep cold cuts around, so when I want a sandwich, I immediately go for the peanut butter and jelly jars. There’s nothing childish about this classic combination – it’s seriously delicious and perfect in cookie form too!
It’s amusing that I’m sharing these cookies today as a Back to School themed treat since I’ve been “back to school” since July, with only a short two week summer break. But I guess that’s more than most of my friends who are real people in the big, big world and get no summer break at all, so no complaints here! It is back to school for the first and second years this week though, and the lack of parking this morning was a stark reminder that they’re baaaaack! Regardless, it feels so great to be a fourth year – pretending to walk around like we know what we’re doing, making plans for life after dental school (it does exist!), and reflecting on how far we’ve come after just one year in the clinic. I have so much to look forward to this academic year: choosing a residency program, graduating from dental school, getting myself a husband – just to name a few. And as long as I keep churning out adorable treats like this along the way, I know it’ll be a great year!
Yield: ~ 20 sandwich cookies
For the peanut butter cookies:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar
2-1/2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
For the "crust":
2 tbsp vodka
Few drops brown food coloring
For the filling:
Jelly flavor of your choice
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy, for 2-3 minutes.
Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and beat until just combined.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a rectangular block. Using your fingers, pinch along the middle of the top and along the two sides to form indentations along the length of the block so the dough looks like a bread loaf. (See photo below). Wrap each half in seran wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
When dough is chilled, unwrap the dough and use a sharp knife to cut slices of "bread" in 1/4" thickness. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place 1" apart on a parchment paper or silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To paint crusts onto the baked cookies, combine vodka and brown food coloring. Use a clean paint brush to brush mixture on the sides of all the cookies. Using vodka instead of water will prevent the cookies from getting soggy since the alcohol will evaporate!
To make the sandwiches, take one cookie slice and spread with jelly. Match cookie with another slice of similar size and make your PB&J sandwich!