Monday, February 13, 2012

PBJ Valentine Cookies

I wanted to make Valentine's Day cookies, but without rolling and cutting the dough, because I am lazy and also because I don't like to clean up the counter afterwards, which, come to think of it, is related to the aforementioned laziness. So I used my trusty peanut butter cookie recipe, but made them into thumbprint cookies, with little heart-shaped jam-filled wells in them. They came out so great that I'm sharing the recipe. First for the cookies themselves, which are a total go-to lunchbox standard around here. 

And then for the festive variation. 


Of course, if you don't feel like going that far, you can do what we've been doing since the kids were babies: arrange raspberries in a heart shape over a pool of yogurt. Like this.

That little fatty-face just filled my heart with such a terrible aching. Oh, I miss the babies sometimes.
Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends.

Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes: 3 dozen
These cookies have no flour and no butter. They're so fragrant and crumbly and peanut-buttery, you'll be amazed.

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky--not natural-style)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt -- more salt if your peanut butter is unsalted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Heat the oven to 350, and grease 2 baking sheets or cover them in parchment paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter, sugars, and salt until combined well.
  3. In a small bowl lightly beat the egg and vanilla, then beat it into the peanut butter mixture with the baking soda until combined well.
  4. Roll teaspoons of dough into balls and arrange them about 1 inch apart on baking sheets; the mixture may seem oily and crumbly, and this is okay. Flatten the balls with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern.
  5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven until they're puffed and golden, about 7 or 8 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool completely.



These come together very quickly.
And they shape up and bake up very quickly. You'll love them.
PBJ Valentine Variation
Make bigger balls of dough--use either a tablespoon or a scoop--then flatten them gently. Now use your best finger (Trial and error will determine which is the best finger for the job! Mine is my ring finger, even though it is strangely weak. I can tell you that it is not my thumb, unless the symbol for Valentine's Day changes from hearts to canyons.) to press two adjoining ovals deeply into the surface of the cookie to make a heart shape. Spoon jam or jelly into each indentation (stir it vigorously first or microwave it for 15 seconds so that it will be easier to spoon in). Bake the cookies as above, for 7-9 minutes.


My beloved scoop!
Heart-shaped indentations. Make them nice and deep.
Ready to bake.
Some of them were a little, er, heart-broken. Use plenty of jelly!

36 comments:

  1. Love this idea! I wish I could send them to school; peanut allergies abound. I will make them for home though. Thanks!

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  2. Those look fun! We also have peanut allergies, we will try with pecan butter, which is our usual stand-in.

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    Replies
    1. let us know how they turn out--that sounds heavenly!

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    2. Please report back or update somehow how it works with pecan butter! My son has peanut allergy but I would love to try this sometime!

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  3. I can't believe our babies are nearly nine!

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  4. Anonymous3:20 PM

    These sound great and I might even have all of the ingredients on hand. When you say "not natural-style" peanut butter, do you mean not the grind yourself kind? Or not any kind where the oil separates out at room temp (such as Adams)? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. The latter--it needs to be the kind that stays homogenized.

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  5. dale in denver4:14 PM

    That fatty-face made MY heart ache. Too cute!

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  6. Yum! I am going to try to make these this afternoon, perfect dessert for tonight! That pic of Birdy is killing me...our girls are turning nine this year, say it isn't so! Happy Valentine's guys!

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  7. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I wonder if you could substitute chocolate for jam? I guess you'd spoon melted choc into the hearts after the cookies cooled? Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
    Molly

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    1. what if you put a few choc chips in the well? would they melt and fill it?

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    2. I tried the chocolate-chip idea on half my batch, and they did not melt at all. Also, without the jam filling the well, the cookies seemed to puff up more. So those cookies are just peanut butter cookies topped with chocolate chips. Still very tasty, of course, but not Valentine's Dayish. :-)

      Also, you weren't kidding about the well needing to be deep. I should made mine deeper!

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    3. I tried doing these with chocolate chips and it was a qualified success. If you aren't the lazy sort, adding melted chocolate after the fact might work better. If you add choc. chips before cooking, I recommend using more chips than you might think are necessary and then using a toothpick to spread them out when they come out of the oven-- otherwise they stay in chip form. In the cookies where I only used 3 chips or so, I ended up with a sort of crumby mess (still delicious!) but the ones with more chips and deep heart indentations worked great, as did the jammy ones.

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    4. Anonymous3:36 PM

      Thanks for the ideas! Why didn't I think of choc chips? I am def the lazy type, so will try using broken bits (didn't buy chips) in the wells and spread with a toothpick. I got some good chocolate so I hope it will melt easily. Have to try some with jam, too!

      Molly

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    5. Anonymous4:53 PM

      I added melted chocolate before baking...once cooled, they were just lovely!

      Amy

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  8. Oh that little fatty face melted my heart....my youngest is 2 1/2 (oldest is 8). The fatty face is what I miss most of all of my 8 year old <3

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  9. Yummy! OK, not to harp on the natural peanut butter, but that's what we have in the house: so would it not work? Should I not even try it ?

    Thanks!
    -Loren

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    1. Loren, I think you should try it, with an open heart and mind, and tell us how it turns out. You might need to call it Jammy Peanut Butter Fudge Crumbs or something, but I'm sure it won't be anything you can't spin.

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    2. Anonymous4:54 PM

      Natural PB is all we have too, and the cookies came out fabulous!

      Amy

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    3. How about Nutella warmed a little in the microwave?

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  10. We just made these with natural (separated) peanut butter and they turned out great. The dough before baking was pretty crumbly, but I just smooshed it together well. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious! I only got 19 cookies. I used my scoop and I think I could've made them a little smaller because they expanded quite a bit when baked.

    Thank you, Catherine, for a perfect recipe for us -- we have just started going gluten-free and casein-free (dairy) for my son with Asperger's. No butter and no flour fit the bill wonderfully! -Kristi

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  11. There is a similar recipe here that only has 5 ingredients and is so quick to make! I love it, but have to hold off making it as i would eat the whole batch. http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/recipes/2010/august/chewy-peanut-butter-and-chocolate-cookies

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  12. Oh I'm so sad we tried them and it was a disaster! I should have known when we were making the balls and they seemed so so greasy. When I cooked them they completely melted! I'm not sure what happened, I had my girls helping me so the measurements might have been off but oh! We have no back-up plan for Daddy's Valentine present! Maybe time to hit the store...

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm sorry! I don't know why it would have been like that. xo

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  13. Ours were a mess too - still tasted good and looked fine going in but spread horribly upon baking. I can't figure out what went wrong. I should have realized something was wrong when they were too creamy/oily (like autumnalyssa's experience). I avoided the natural peanut butter so I'm wondering if it was the brand of PB I used. Catherine, which brand did you use? I'm mystified because I followed your instructions to a T. My husband still enjoyed eating them in their odd state, though :)

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    1. Oh dear! I have made these cookies literally *dozens* of times. I'm so sorry. I use the Whole Foods Peanut Butter that's like Jiff, but for people who want to spend a hundred dollars on it. What did you use?

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    2. I have solved the mystery I think - it was Jif but I just noticed it was the "reduced fat" version, not regular. I am sure that was the problem. I will try again with our natural PB from co-op that we usually use and I'm sure the results will be great. Your recipes are always wonderful!!!

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  14. It's not always the fatty-face that sends me into wistful reminiscing -- it's those chubby little hands and fingers... Oh my aching heart!...

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  15. I made these this afternoon using Kirkland (Costco) creamy 'Natural' peanut butter, and they came out WONDERFULLY. The dough was a bit crumbly, but that might have been because I was using a hand-mixer, and I just used a handful of dough to pick up the crumbly bits (the 'play-doh cleanup method'), rolled the balls of dough pretty tightly, and the cookies came out sooo light and lovely. I did find that the 'all fruit' jam I used was a bit too translucent, but still, a hit! THANK YOU, CATHERINE!!!
    http://anderandzaza.blogspot.com/2012/02/february-14th.html

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  16. I used the Trader Joe's organic peanut butter - yes, the natural kind, and just stirred it like crazy before baking and it was totally fine. We loved them so much, in fact, that we will probably make another batch today. I have four kids and we gave so many away that everyone only got *one* cookie yesterday. And no dough to munch. Anyway, the natural stuff does work, from Trader Joe's, at least.

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  17. Seeing a picture of your chubby baby reminds me of reading your stuff when I had chubby babies. And then I think of my chubby babies and their lovely nursing babyness and musky smelling baby heads. And my heart aches too (but not nearly enough to do it all over again). It's not fair. There should be a book: If You Give a Mom a Chubby Baby Picture...

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  18. I made these again this week and I think I know why they are sometimes not working. I made a double batch for a big party but time got away from me so I cooked half and put the other half of the dough in the refrigerator. The first half was fine and the second batch was a crumbly mess. The peanut butter needs to be room temperature! I think the entire dough is happier on a warm day.

    But, if you get a crumbly mess, fear not! Just take that pot of gold and sprinkle it on chocolate ice cream. Oh yeah, chocolate peanut butter cookie dough sundae. HEAVEN. (And eggs, blah, blah. Read the book Free Range Kids, then take big sigh and gulp away.)

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