Peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies.

I volunteered to bring cookies—lots of them—to Grandma’s 90th birthday fête this weekend. I had in mind to bake old-fashioned kinds of cookies; nothing too swishy, but rather the types of cookies she might have made in her cookie-baking heyday. I remember Grandma making snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies (especially peanut blossoms, with the melty chocolate kiss in the middle). So peanut butter cookies were first on my list. But I wanted a different kind of peanut butter cookie recipe, something distinctly summery, as opposed to the peanut blossom, which in our family is a traditional Christmas cookie recipe.

I had just made a batch of homemade strawberry jam and another of blueberry jam, and I will go to my grave a die-hard PB&J lover. So I searched through my copy of The Art and Soul of Baking and found a peanut butter thumbprint cookie recipe, which I adapted by using jam instead of caramel as the filling.

peanut butter & jam thumbprint cookies

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup creamy salted peanut butter (see Note)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup jam or jelly, preferably homemade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Place butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is creamy (alternately, use a hand mixer). Add egg and vanilla and blend well. Add peanut butter and beat until well-blended. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix on the slowest speed until thoroughly combined.

Use a small ice cream scoop or two spoons to portion out dough in Tbsp.-sized balls; place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Make sure the balls are neatly formed. Using the rounded end of a wooden spoon, make a depression in each cookie, about 1/3-inch or so deep. Bake cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden brown all over and a bit darker on the edges.

Heat the jam or jelly in a small saucepan. When the cookies come out of the oven, carefully spoon a bit of warm jam into each depression, filling it neatly. The warm jam and warm cookies will cool together, setting the jam and giving it a nice glossy sheen. Makes about 50 cookies.

Note: I rarely eat major-brand peanut butter, instead preferring the fresh-ground, peanut-only peanut butter I get at our local market. But the cookbook recommended name-brand over natural peanut butter, noting that it gives a better texture. So I used Peter Pan, with good results.

Related links:

Homemade blueberry jam
Homemade strawberry jam
Almond-butter cookies 

7 thoughts on “Peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies.

  1. These look awesome, Bryn! I, too, love a good PB&J … will definitely have to give them a try.
    Have a blast at your grandma’s 90th birthday bash!

  2. Was that baking powder or baking soda for your recipe? One of my children will be trying this recipe to enter in the 4-H baking department at our County Fair. Thanks!

    • Hi, Meredith — the recipe calls for baking soda. I triple checked it! I love that one of your kids will be entering these cookies in the County Fair — please check back here and let us know how that goes. Here’s to a big blue ribbon! Thanks for your comment.

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