Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
This Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies recipe will take you back to your childhood lunch box favorite. Creamy peanut butter and sweet raspberry jelly combine in pillowy soft cookies that are the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Enjoy with a glass of milk to evoke grade school nostalgia.
It blows my mind like dynamite that it’s been over a decade since I picked up my son from preschool. Today he’s getting ready to start high school, yet it seems like yesterday that I was strapping him in his car seat for the ride home from daycare. He’d be in the back jamming out to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” while his little face was smeared with jam leftover from his peanut butter and jelly lunch.
My son is a creature of habit so this happened every day like clockwork. Every freaking day. I’m dead serious: same song, same sandwich, same jelly smeared face. I didn’t realize how out of control it had gotten until one of the other mothers asked me what was wrong with my kid. Under normal circumstances I would’ve taken all kinds of offense (and taken off her head), but I was thrown off guard by the fact that she whispered it with a grave concern for his wellbeing.
What the ever-loving hell was going on?
If there was something seriously wrong with my son, the inquisitive mother needed to spit it out ASAP. You don’t beat around the bush over something like this, you screw the other person’s feelings and blurt it out.
She hesitated to soften the blow and then I prepared myself for the hit. I could take it, I told myself. Anything was better than the torture of not knowing. That’s why no matter what came out of her mouth, I vowed to stay calm, cool and collected.
It turns out I lied.
After hearing what she had to say, I did not maintain my composure. What I did instead was bust out in laughing hysterics. Why? Because every time the mother saw my son with red smeared across his mouth like the Joker she just assumed he’d been stricken with an incurable disease.
Now you get the giggly reaction. My preschooler didn’t have some rare syndrome, instead he had raspberry jelly-itis. The cause was his daily PB&J. I know because I diagnosed him myself and he’s still afflicted with the ailment to this day.
I’m not kidding.
He’s now a 9th grader and ever since I can remember he’s only ever eaten two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for school lunch. That’s 2 years of preschool, 1 year of VPK, 6 years of elementary and 3 years of middle school. I needed a NASA engineered calculator to figure out how many sandwiches that was. Here’s what I came up with: 180 days of school per year x 12 years x 2 PB&Js per day = 4,320 sandwiches. It seemed so improbable that I checked the math twice. Then I checked it again. The result was always the same: over four thousand peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!
That’s just nuts.
If it taught me anything about my kid it’s that he knows what he likes. And since peanut butter and jelly is his favorite sandwich combo, I knew he’d go crazy for them in a cookie. How could he not? Peanut butter and jelly thumbprints are the perfect marriage of sweet and salty. Plus, the cookies are small enough to shove in your pie hole and eat in a single, melt-in-your-mouth bite.
One taste of these soft peanut butter cookies and then you’ll be hooked. It doesn’t get simpler than this 10 ingredient recipe, but if you feel like kicking them up a notch then go for it. Finely crushed peanuts or a drizzle of melted peanut butter are perfect toppings for these thumbprints.
Before sharing the recipe for these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies, here are a few tips to help you out:
Ingredient Tips and Tricks
We only stock our pantry with all natural peanut butter, but the way the oil tends to separate is not a good match for this recipe. Therefore, go crazy and use the processed peanut butter brand you grew up with.
I chose seeded raspberry jelly, but your favorite jam flavor can be substituted.
The egg needs to be at room temperature. If you’ve forgotten to take your egg out of the refrigerator ahead of time then you can speed up the process by placing it in a bowl of warm water. Don’t use hot water because we want to warm the egg, not hatch it.
Butter needs to be at room temperature so let it sit out for an hour before starting the recipe. Resist the temptation to nuke the butter in the microwave because it will get melty in spots. Melted butter is perfect for toast, but not peanut butter thumbprints.
I probably sound like a broken record because I say this on every blog post but you should only be using unbleached all-purpose flour. To clarify, bleach is for cleaning toilet bowls not for baking ingredients.
Process Tips and Tricks
This recipe has two chilling times, however, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just chill the dough for 1 hour after it has been mixed then once the dough has been shaped in balls, thumb-printed and jellied, chill again for 2 hours. Chilling helps the cookies keep their cute little shape while baking, so don’t skip this step.
Storage and Freezing Tips for Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
PB&J cookies will last up to one week at room temperature when stored in an airtight container
This cookie dough freezes well so you can absolutely make the dough in advance. Simply follow the recipe, chilling for one hour once the dough is combined then roll into balls and pop in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen dough balls in the refrigerator the night before your cookie craving then, just before you’re ready to bake, make the thumb indents, add the jam and pop in the oven.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies. Please leave a comment and rating below after you’ve baked a batch. And, while you’re at it, sign up for my weekly Recipe Newsletter so you never miss a tempting recipe.
Finally, if you are a peanut butter lover at heart, check out my recipe for homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. They only have 4 ingredients and none of the garbage you get from store-bought brands. Every peanut buttery bite is rich, creamy and decadent.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter *do not use all natural
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla pure
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour unbleached
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt fine
- 1/3 cup raspberry jam
- Beat creamy peanut butter and unsalted butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla until mixed.
- In a separate bowl whisk flour, baking soda and sea salt.
- Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture 1/2 cup at at time, beating on low until combined. As you go, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to incorporate all ingredients.
- Cover dough and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour
- Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced 2 inches apart. Using your thumb, make a shallow indent on the top of each dough ball and fill the each indent with 1/4 tsp of jam.
- Cover cookies and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Once chilling time is complete, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cover from chilled cookies and bake until lightly brown, 11 to 13 minutes.
- Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, add more jam and/or drizzle with melted peanut butter for decoration.
- Cookies stored at room temperature in an airtight container will last up to 1 week.