These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies are a delicious treat for a weekday snack or weekend dessert. Soft cookie with sticky sweet jam is a perfect combination of flavours and textures. They are made better with a secret ingredient!! You won’t be able to stop at just one, I guarantee it!
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This post was originally published on January 14, 2016 and is now updated with more information, tips, photos, and video
A few years ago I had a teeny, tiny addiction to Baking Murder Mysteries by Joanne Fluke. The books weren’t the greatest, writing wasn’t inspiring, but the story was addictive.
I devoured all 20 books in a span of a few weeks. Hungry for more. More stories, more recipes, more desserts.
Unlike other cooking murder mysteries that I read previously, these books actually inspired me to try some of the recipes found sprinkled throughout chapters in between suspense, murder, and romance. Surprisingly, I actually liked all of the recipes that I tried, although I changed and adapted them to my taste.
More recipes inspired by Baking Murder Mysteries:
One of the recipes that I bookmarked to try was for Joanne’s Peanut Butter and Jam cookies. I read through the recipe and saw that it could easily be halved because it had two eggs.
I started following the steps while reducing the ingredients. Somewhere between melting the butter and mixing in the flour I forgot my intent of making only half. I ended up with part of the recipe using half of the ingredients and part using the full amount. The dough looked ok, so I decided to still try and bake the cookies. The result was scrumptious!
Over the years, I changed up the recipe quite a bit. Added some secret ingredient twist to these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies and in turn they became one of my favourite cookie recipe!
These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies are thick and buttery. They remind me a little bit of thick shortbread and almond cake. They aren’t crumbly or chewy. A mix between dense cake and bar cookies.
Ingredients to make Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
- Unsalted butter
- Creamy peanut butter
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Your favourite jam (I’ve made these with passion fruit jam, grape jelly, cherry jam, strawberry jelly etc)
How to make Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
These Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies aren’t difficult to make, but they take time because the jam needs to be individually added to each dough ball before baking. Also, my secret ingredient trick takes a few extra minutes. And finally, the amount of dough also makes a lot of cookies, so it takes time to bake them all and I prefer to bake one batch at a time. But it’s all worth it.
- Melt the butter.
- Secret ingredient: turn the melted butter into brown butter!
- Add the sugar and vanilla to the brown butter and mix.
- Add the peanut butter and mix.
- Add the egg and mix.
- Add the flour and the leavening ingredients and mix.
- Portion out the dough into little balls. I use small ice cream scoop.
- Flatten each ball with a spoon a bit (basically, create a thumbprint).
- Fill each thumbprint with jelly.
Tip: if you prefer the cookies to spread less, then chill the dough in the fridge for about an hour before forming the balls. I don’t usually do that.
How to make brown butter
You don’t need to use brown butter for these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies. You could skip this step and just use melted butter. However, I love using brown butter as it adds a nutty tone to the mix and just makes the cookies a little bit better!
Making brown butter is actually easy but takes a few extra minutes:
- In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, do not take it off the heat, just keep on the stove. It’ll start foaming.
- Keep cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the foam subsides and the melted butter in turn will start bubbling.
- Keep cooking for yet another 1-2 minutes until the butter turns from pale yellow to dark brown. Hence, brown butter!
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve or a paper towel or even a coffee filter. There will be dark solids strained out. This is exactly what we are looking for.
Tip: I like using a tall saucepan to make brown butter. I prefer not to stir it while it foams and bubbles so taller sides help with that.
How to store Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
It’s better to make Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies at night to enjoy the next day or even a day later. They get better a night after, once exposed to moisture in the air they get smoother texture. I don’t keep them wrapped up or in air tight container for the first few days either.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies will last for about 7 days (although I don’t think they’ve ever lasted for more than 3 days in my family). Keep just in a bowl for the first 3 days and then in an airtight container for the next few days.
After they come out from the oven, the cookies are slightly crispy at the edges. But after a few hours (or preferably over night) they soften and become extremely delicious and addictive.
More Peanut Butter Recipes:
- Vegan Peanut Butter Muffins with Chocolate Chips
- Flourless Instant Pot Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Bites
- No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (vegan and gluten-free)
- Sinfully Good Peanut Butter Iced Coffee
Peanut Butter and Jelly cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small pot melt the stick of butter.
- Once it’s melted, keep cooking on medium heat until the butter turns golden brown, about 5-6 more minutes after it’s melted, make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Strain the brown butter using a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
- Add the sugar and vanilla to the brown butter and mix until blended.
- Add the peanut butter to the mixture and mix well.Tip: spray your measuring cup with cooking oil, so that peanut butter doesn’t stick to it.
- Add the egg and mix it in well.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and mix just until everything is incorporated and the flour disappears. Do not overmix.Tip: chill the dough for about an hour if you'd like the cookies to spread as little as possible.
- Form the cookiee dough into walnut-sized balls. I use a very small ice cream scoop.
- Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
- Using the back of a spoon make a dent (thumbprint) in each dough ball.
- Spoon a little bit of jam into the indentation.
- Bake for 14 minutes exactly, cool for a couple of minutes on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Do not over bake!!
- Leave uncovered overnight to let cookies soften a little bit. They are better the next day.
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Just for fun, photo of these cookies from 2016