Let’s talk PB & J.
Do you like smooth or crunchy peanut butter? Strawberry or grape jelly? White or wheat bread? My favorite version growing up was loads of smooth peanut butter and a schmear of strawberry jelly/jam on white sandwich bread. I was very particular about the peanut-butter-to-jelly ratio. I usually went with 80% peanut butter and 20% jelly. And while I’ve traded in my Wonderbread for healthier, whole-grain options in adulthood, the filling ratio still stands. I like a-lotta PB and a little J.
When you put said ingredients between two peanut butter cookies, though, all bets are off. There’s really no wrong way to do it. Cookies solve all the world’s problems. Or at least they should.
Cookies with ridiculously rich fillings are not new on this site. I have a tendency from time to time to take an already rich treat (a cookie) and make it even more sinful by dunking it in chocolate ganache or filling it with something sweet and fluffy. Because why not? You’re already going there. There’s something so magical about biting down on a crispy, slightly chewy cookie and then having a luscious buttercream filling quickly follow. You guys know I’m all about varying textures in my food. These cookies are no different.
The cookies are nutty and toasty and delicious. I add in a teeny pinch of cinnamon, which admittedly, I had never done to any peanut butter cookie in my life before these. But let me tell ya, wow. Just WOW. You don’t necessarily taste the cinnamon, but it adds such a nice warmth and slight spicy note to these otherwise peanut buttery cookies. It, in no way, hinders the peanut butter flavor. It’s something I plan on doing with all my peanut butter cookies from here on out.
They also have the perfect texture. A little crunch with a little chew, which is exactly how I like my cookies. Kind of how I like a little salt with my sweet…which these cookies also happen to deliver. They are the perfect little vessel for dunking into a cold glass of milk or filling with devious things.
Which brings me to the filling. Gah! Peanut butter buttercream is essentially what’s happening here, and there are few things in this world as magnificent. Butter and peanut butter are whirled together until they’re so fluffy I almost lose my dignity and face plant right into the mixing bowl. Sweetened with sugar and a little vanilla and rounded out with the slightest pinch of salt, this buttercream is whirred to perfection in mere moments.
I think I actually ended up with a whole sandwich cookie missing….from, er, recipe testing. Let’s just say a few cookies and several spoonfuls (finger fulls?) of the filling never made it to assembly. I had to make sure they were as delicious as I thought. For you guys.
The peanut butter buttercream gets sandwiched between two peanut butter cookies along with a healthy dollop of strawberry (or whatever flavor you like!) jam. With a little self control, you should end up with roughly 12-14 sandwiched cookies. Or if you’re me…10. Once Dan arrived home from work the day I made these, we quickly went down to 7 in a matter of a half hour. That man has a serious peanut butter obsession.
And who can blame him when we’re putting our favorite childhood sandwich into cookie form? It’s a nostalgia cookie. And that can’t be beat.
Dibs on that fat one at the bottom of the stack!
For the Cookie Dough:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
For the Filling:
- ⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- ¼ cup seedless jam (whichever flavor you like)
For the Cookie Dough:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- With a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating after each addition to incorporate. Add the peanut butter and beat until it is incorporated.
- Scoop the dough using a 1-inch cookie scoop, roll each scoop into a ball with your hands, and place onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each dough ball. Press the dough balls down slightly until they are about 1½ inches in diameter.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until the edges of the cookie are golden brown and the tops are slightly cracked. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Filling:
- While the cookies are baking, using a stand or hand mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until well mixed and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Refrigerate the filling for 30 minutes or until thoroughly chilled.
- Spoon a couple tablespoons of the peanut butter filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Spread 1-2 teaspoons of jam on the flat side of the remaining cookies. Sandwich the cookie halves together and serve.
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Lightly adapted from here.