Although I’m not related in any way, I’ve been unofficially adopted into my best friends’ families. Which makes me pretty well connected. Mention nearly anyone’s name from my hometown, and chances are Dani is related somehow. It seems like half the town is her cousin. While Kelli’s family tree doesn’t branch out quite as much as Dani’s, she’s still got a plethora of relations to add to the mix. (I’m jealous of the amount of girl cousins she got to play with growing up.) As an adopted member of each clan, I get invited to all the family functions. It’s almost assumed that I’ll be showing up to nearly all of Kelli’s family picnics and parties—with enough desserts to warrant my own table. And Dani’s family has been known to make her get up from Thanksgiving dinner to drive me over to celebrate with them (even though I was already stuffed from my own dinner!). So when Kelli threw a going away party for her brother, Jason, who was moving to Florida, of course I was there—cookies in hand.
I made peanut butter cookies because Jason doesn’t like chocolate (which is just utter crazy-talk if you ask me. Who doesn’t like chocolate?). I made these once before a long time ago (pre-blog era), and have been meaning to make them again. The dough turned out a bit softer than I remembered, but once I started rolling it out, it was alright. Just make sure to use a spatula to transfer them to the baking sheets, or they’ll totally lose their shape! Also, the filling was a little too light and fluffy for my liking. It tasted great, but the first bite sent it squishing out the sides. Next time, I might not add as much heavy cream. Or add a bit more confectioners’ sugar to stiffen it up a bit. All in all, the cookies were a hit. They’re the perfect sandy texture, and have a big peanut butter taste without being over the top. They’d also be great to fill with chocolate ganache or spread with your favorite jam for a PB&J cookie, perfect for the lunchbox.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, beating on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, beating until just combined, about 1 minute.
2. Divide dough in half and shape into two flattened disks. Cover disks with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside. (If refrigerated overnight, let dough stand for about a half an hour at room temperature to soften slightly.) On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to about ¼-inch thickness. Using a 1 ½-inch square or circle cutter, or just a sharp knife, cut out dough. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets, placing 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps as needed. (My dough was really soft, even after refrigerating, but it held together enough to roll out and cut fairly well. I had to use an offset spatula to transfer my squares to the baking sheets though.) Using the tines of a fork, press a cross hatch pattern into the squares. Refrigerate baking sheets until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until squares are lightly golden brown around the edges and firm in the center, about 15 minutes. All to cool on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. While cookies are cooling, make filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, until filling is thick and fluffy.
6. Pipe or spread frosting onto the bottom part of one cookie. Top with a second cookie.