PB&J Cookies and Bars

8 June 2022

If you wondered why peanut butter cookies have fork marks cross hatched on top, it is to provide a more even baking since this is a very dense cookie.  The fork flattens them enough to assure a good bake.

The concept of a PB&J cookie isn’t difficult.  Just bake your favorite peanut butter cookie in a double batch.  When they are fully cooled, slap your favorite jam or jelly (or mix and match) on the bottom of one cookie and then pair the bottom of the second cookie on top.  Voila!  You have a peanut butter and jelly cookie sandwich.  Fun for kids to assemble.

Another easy option starts with the same favorite peanut butter cookie.  Roll them into balls and then in some finely chopped peanuts.  Place them about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet and using the end of a wooden spoon, create a small well.  As the cookies come out of the oven and while still warm, fill the hole with jelly.  Making the indentation is a good job for kids.  In fact, if they don’t mind some squishing, let them actually use their thumbs.

The bars will handle room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to 5.  They can be frozen.  Be sure they are fully cooled before cutting and storing in a resealable freezer bag.  You can also freeze them in the pan.  Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cutting.

Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Makes 1 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fruit preserves, jam or jelly, any flavor

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use a fork to make a criss-cross pattern on the top.
  • Make a small hole in the top of each cookie using the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill the holes with jelly, jam, or preserves.
  • Bake for 8 to 11 minutes in preheated oven. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Crunch Bars

Ingredients:

Makes 30 bars

  • 2 ¼ cups oats
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 sticks cold butter, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups room temperature peanut butter
  • 1 ½ cups jelly

Directions:

  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F .
  • Stir the oats, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, cut the butter into the mixture until crumbly.
  • Press about half of the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread the peanut butter over the oat mixture. Stir the jelly and swirl into the peanut butter. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the peanut butter and jelly layer; gently pat until it sticks together.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

 

Brownies

Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Heat chocolate and shortening in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat until melted or in the microwave on short bursts.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Mix in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter
  • Combine remaining ingredients and add to the mixture.
  • Bake in an 8X8X2 greased baking pan about 30 to 35 minutes or until the start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Cool, cut into squares or bars and enjoy.

 

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