PB&J Cookie Sandwiches
I'm really excited about these. And I mean really, really excited. Not only are they a dessert version of my childhood favorite sandwich, but also, miraculously, today is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day and I HAD NO IDEA! What are the odds?! So now these cookies are delicious... AND CULTURALLY RELEVANT. Gosh, don't you just love it when things work out that way?
These cookies came to life yesterday when I randomly got to thinking about sprinkles. Thoughts like that cross my mind on a daily basis, but for some reason, I was particularly into it yesterday. It's probably because Molly Yeh posted her recipe for these gorgeous Marzipan Sprinkle Hamantaschen, and then I started Instagram stalking her and came across Smitten Kitchen's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies that she had rolled in sprinkles because she felt like it, and I decided to do the same -- roll something in sprinkles because I felt like it, that is.
And then these happened. If you don't like sprinkles, then you don't need to add them. I have a few things to say to people who don't like sprinkles, but we don't need to talk about that now. The peanut butter cookies are everything you want in a peanut butter cookie: soft, puffy, slightly salty and nutty and sweet, and the filling is a raspberry jam buttercream. Don't skimp on the jam here, folks. If you do, you'll just have pink buttercream - which is totally fine but then where's the beauty in a PB&J cookie sandwich? Before you spread the cookies with frosting, take your finger for a little dip and adjust as needed. Or, what I kind of wish I had done with these is add a half teaspoon of jam on top of the buttercream before sandwiching the cookies, so you get a nice jammy bite in the middle. Either way, these will make your inner PB&J-loving child sing -- and you don't have to worry about cutting off the crust.
For the cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling dough
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the raspberry jam buttercream:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup raspberry jam
Pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar, or more depending on your preference
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using hand beaters, cream butter, sugars and peanut butter until thick and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.
Gradually add flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt, and stir until just combined.
In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and line a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment paper. scoop scant 1/4-inch balls of cookie dough and roll with both hands to form a ball. Roll the balls in the sugar, making sure to get all sides coated. Arrange dough balls (you should have 14-16), on the lined baking sheet, spacing each at least 1 inch apart. Using the bottom of a glass, gently press down on each cookie to flatten. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once the dough has chilled, remove the plastic wrap and bake cookies for 12-13 minutes, until the cookies are puffy, cracked on top and still look a bit underdone. Remove the cookies and allow to cool completely on the pan - they will continue to bake on the pan and slightly deflate.
Smell the beautiful smell of peanut butter wafting through your kitchen.
Once the cookies are completely cool, it's time for buttercream. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the raspberry jam and pinch of salt, and continue to beat. The mixture may look a little odd at this point, especially if you're using seeded jam, but don't worry - the powdered sugar will even out the consistency.
Gradually add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition - taste after about 3 cups to make sure it isn't getting too sweet. Add the cream one tablespoon at a time until you reach the thickness of frosting that you'd like.
Using a spoon or an offset spatula, dollop a generous scoop of buttercream onto the back of every other cookie (don't be shy about this). If desired, slightly flatten out the middle using a spoon and place a 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam in the middle. Take a cookie of similar size and press down onto the top of the buttercream to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining 6 cookies. Sprinkle the edges of the buttercream with sprinkles, if you wish, or... don't... if you have no soul.