Like you, my heart and mind goes home for Christmas. Vintage peanut-butter-and-jam “print” cookies take me back to grade school parties, annual church bazaars and family baking. Most mothers had the basic ingredients on their kitchen shelf, and, with a little hands-on assembly, they could quickly whip up a batch. I have yet to meet anyone who did not like the taste of the ever-popular peanut butter and jam duo. Let’s face it, when you’re 10 years old, your cuisine preferences are perfectly simple.
PB and jam print cookies are ideal for future chefs to try. Children will enjoy mixing, coating the small rounds of dough in sugar and the fun assignment to imprint a small indent in the middle of each cookie. Filling the center with a dab of chosen jam finishes the sweet, sugar-glittered morsels.
I recommend butter over margarine, and creamy peanut butter does give you a softer bite. This recipe also bakes up a wonderful peanut butter cookie sans the jam. Before baking, take a fork and gently press the top of the cookie dough with tines placed horizontally and then vertically for a crisscross pattern. Be careful not to press too hard. If you want to keep it completely basic, just bake the cookie rounds, coated in sugar for 10 to 15 minutes.
Enjoy preparing, indulging in, and sharing these colorful, festive cookies. I hope they bring back fond memories for you as well.
Peanut Butter and Jam Print Cookies
Makes: about 4 dozen cookies
1¼ cups of packed light brown sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup (one stick) butter, softened at room temperature, not clarified
2-2½ tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1¾ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Jam of choice: apricot, strawberry, mixed berry, plum
For coating: 1/3 cup granulated, crystal or coarse sugar
In large mixing bowl blend brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk and vanilla. Use an electric mixer or stir by hand. Batter should be smooth. Add in egg. Mix well.
Add in dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt. Stir well by hand or beat with electric mixer on low speed. Chill dough 30-45 minutes.
After chilling, shape dough into 1-inch rounds. Roll each round in granulated, crystal or coarse sugar.
Place cookie rounds 2 inches apart on lightly prepared cookie sheet.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Quickly and carefully indent the centers of each cookie with a teaspoon, making a cradle for the jam. Return cookies back into your oven and bake another 3-5 minutes. Altitudes and ovens may vary bake times. When preparing this recipe for the first time, check your cookies at the 3-minute mark (in Idaho, I bake them 5 minutes to finish). Cookies should be lightly browned, Do not overbake. Let them cool on your baking sheet about 10 minutes. Transfer your cookies to a plate or cooling rack. Spoon desired jam into the indented centers. Start off with a small amount and then add to fill per your liking.
Shannon M. Smurthwaite is a Southern California native, cookbook author and food columnist/freelance writer. She and her husband, Donald, reside in Idaho. Her website: www.myitalianmama.com email: email@example.com