It's back to school time! For some it's a good thing, and for some, it's a bad thing, but I think that for most, it's somewhere in the middle...or at least it is for me! I'm super happy to be back on campus and getting to live in an awesome apartment for my senior year, and my classes all seem to be really great, so I'm definitely looking forward to the challenges that they will bring. On the downside, school of course means getting re-adjusted to going back to work, having deadlines and responsibilities, and of course, the inevitability of an all-nighter at some point during the semester (although, now that I'm not enrolled in a studio class, perhaps the frequency of these events will be greatly reduced this semester...I'm crossing my fingers and toes for this to be true!). Sigh, oh well. There's nothing that can be done! It's just a matter of reality that homework comes with school, but at the same time, so does fun! It's all a matter of achieving a sense of balance.
Speaking of balance, it's important to be able to find a sense of balance in all aspects of life, not just between work and play. Cookies are, of course, no exception to this rule. For instance, a chocolate chip cookie needs to have the perfect balance of crisp exterior and gooey center, while at the same time having just the right amount of chocolate chips. I'm a huge chocolate person, but even I will admit that a chocolate chip cookie can't be completely consumed by chocolate chips...it just wouldn't be right I think. I'm getting a bit sidetracked though. Balance is important, but chocolate chip cookies are not the cookies we have at hand at the moment. We must discuss peanut butter, jelly, and cocoa thumbprint cookies. Let's try to stay focused, please.
These peanut butter, jelly, and cocoa thumbprint cookies are a perfectly balanced blend of chocolate, peanut, and raspberry flavors, and in my opinion make quite a delicious cookie. Seriously, this might be one of my favorites that I've made so far! There is just a slight and subtle hint of chocolate in each cookie, yet at the same time, the peanut butter flavor definitely comes through. There's that nice peanut butter-chocolate combination going on, and then as you move into the cookie, a raspberry jam center is waiting for you, so that center bite is full of chocolate, peanut butter, and raspberry. Good stuff, right?! I certainly think so!
Of course, the flavor combination in these cookies is good stuff. They're also incredibly easy to make (which is a very important criteria in determining the awesome-ness of a cookie recipe). Simply combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer until you have a nice cookie dough, roll the dough into little balls, create a thumbprint in their centers, and then fill the centers up with some raspberry jam...or whatever jam you like! I think strawberry would work really well, as would blackberry, or even grape, if you want to stick to the classic pb+j combo. A quick dusting of powdered sugar once the cookies have cooled is the perfect finishing touch, and adds just a little extra sweetness to the cookies. These peanut butter, jelly, and cocoa thumbprint cookies are incredibly easy to make, and would be the perfect addition to any school lunchbox, cookie jar, or that secret cookie stash that we all know you have hiding in your desk drawer. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone I know about it.
Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Cocoa Thumbprint Cookies
recipe from White on Rice Couple
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (shortening works too)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry jam (or your favorite flavor)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Cream until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and vanilla extract, making sure to mix until fully incorporated.
With the mixer running on low speed, gradually begin to add the flour mixture to the mixer. Mix only until just incorporated, and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.
Begin to roll the cookie dough into balls (I used about 1 very full tablespoon of cookie dough per cookie) and place onto the prepared baking sheets. With your thumb, create an indentation in the center of each ball of cookie dough so that it is flattened out slightly (don't worry if the edges start to crack). Fill a piping bag (or a clear Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off will work as well) with the jam, and pipe jam into the center of each cookie.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven until they have just set, about 13-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Once cooled, dust the cookies with powdered sugar, if desired. Enjoy!
Makes about 3 dozen cookies