I feel like it’s been for.ev.er (say it like the sandlot, do it) since we talked about cookies.

Grown Up PB + J Cookies I howsweeteats.com I howsweeteats.com

Pretty sure it’s because I get super weird about cookies in the Spring. It’s like I make tons of them over the holidays and then am totally cookied out. Well – at least cookied out to the point of baking them. I sure do eat my fair share, but the thought of baking them is the last thing on Earth I want to do. I mean, I made the cookie s’mores but those were totally store-bought cookies. It happens.

Like lots of other people, I can be oddly picky about my cookies. I don’t loathe store-bought, but if they actually TASTE like store-bought? Then yeah, gross. Chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite but also the most frequent offenders of not always being delicious. If I want a cookie, I want a good cookie. Or like ten good cookies. You know what I mean.

The thing is though, that I almost always love every single peanut butter cookie that I taste. Probably because it can be challenging to mess that one up – sugar, peanut butter, butter, maybe some flour… can’t go wrong. They are soft but dense. Major hearts.

Grown Up PB + J Cookies I howsweeteats.com I howsweeteats.com

A few years ago I made some pb & j cookies… but they were kind of cop out cookies. Like pb cookies with j on top. Or simply sandwiched inside. These ones? We’ve got the j swirled inside the dough. Yes, I actually used my hands and a rather large spoon and smashed some preserves inside my peanut butter cookie dough. It was a sticky mess and 100% worth it. AND.

I used grown up j. Yes I did. At least grown up j for… well, me. And my family.

I was burnt out of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by kindergarten but my brothers still ate them for years. We’ve never passed go, never collected $200 and definitely never ventured outside of jarred grape jelly. Or strawberry, if I ever got my way. (Which was often since if you haven’t picked up, I’m a brat.)

My husband is totally the same way, still. As in, TODAY. He doesn’t stray from grape and maybe, just maybe, when we’re in Michigan each summer I can convince him to try some other favorites at American Spoon, but never combined with peanut butter.

So this is my grown up j, for myself.

Grown Up PB + J Cookies I howsweeteats.com I howsweeteats.com

Dried figs are one of my favorite snacks. I fell into them accidentally when a (very… annoying… it’s true? you have them too.) coworker gave me one years and years and years ago. Up until then, my only fig interaction came from fig newtons, which I didn’t even care for. Maybe at some point I pretended that they were healthy cookies or something but then you just realize… the jig is up. These are not cookies AND they kind of taste like crap. And that was that.

So after discovering how much I loved dried figs, I discovered things like fig butter and fig jam and fig everything.

Then I basically freaked the heck out and binged on all things fig.

I was pathetically sheltered and naive for most of my life. Wouldn’t have it any other way though.

Anyway, to sort-of-but-not-really completely change subjects, I rarely eat in the morning before I workout but if I feel especially drained, I’ll have a few figs and occasionally even spread some peanut butter on them. (I also think in constant run-on sentences.) It’s like the grown up version of my fruit + peanut butter go-to that I’ve been eating all my life. It’s also my perfect afternoon pick me up.

And these are the cookie version. Pre-workout cookies? I think so. Let’s do that.

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Peanut Butter + Fig Preserves Cookies

Yield: makes about 20 cookies

Total Time: 1 hour


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup of fig preserves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the peanut butter and butter first so it has time to cool - I melted them together, microwaving for about 30 seconds, stirring, and then 30 seconds more, stirring again until melted. Set aside until cool.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, peanut butter and sugars until smooth. Add in eggs, mixing again until combined, then stir in vanilla extract. Using a large spoon, gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring well and using your hands if needed to bring the dough together (I do this!). Just keep mixing - it will come together! It may be a bit crumbly. At this point, I add the fig jam to the dough and sort of "fold" it in with my hands, mixing it up. Once the dough is combined, I stick it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

Roll the dough into balls that are slightly smaller than 1 inch in size. The dough will still be sticky but damp hands help and just roll them up as best you can. Place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart, baking for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

[adapted from these puffy peanut butter cookies]

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112 Responses to “Grown Up PB + J Cookies.”

  1. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — May 16, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

    Something about fig makes me feel so fancy. And fancy that – I have an unopened jar of fig preserves right now. Mix it up with some cookie dough and peanut butter and I’m in cookie heaven. PS: yes… pre-workout cookies. :)


  2. #
    Marcie @ Flavor the Moments — May 16, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

    These look thick, soft, and delicious. I love the fig jam…I actually have some open right now that I definitely need to utilize!


  3. #
    Lauren — May 16, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

    Love figs! At the holidays,Whole foods sells “fig-a-ma-jigs”. Dried figs covered in dark chocolate. They’re incredible. You’ll have to pick some up!


  4. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — May 17, 2013 @ 6:23 am

    Grown up indeed. These and some wine. Yep, a wonderful to start the weekend.


  5. #
    V. Grace — May 17, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    Omigosh! I totally LOVE Fig Preserves! I found a jar in a health food store last Summer, and I practically licked the jar clean!!! XD
    My fig love goes all the way back to my childhood(which is a REALLY LONG TIME AGO!), and we used to eat Kadota Figs w/ Cream on special occasions, for breakfast… that is, until we couldn’t find them anymore… :( Apparently, they’re a West Coast thing now, and you just cant find them in PA. Anyway, these sound A. ma. zing! I SO have to go back to that store & PRAY they still carry those preserves! And I have to attempt to adapt this recipe to be Gluten Free… PB cookies are hard to do that with, because if you mix the dough too much, they turn out hard as a rock. But for Fig Preserves? I’ll chance it! Thanks!


  6. #
    Deb — May 17, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    Have you ever tried fresh figs? I’ve had a tree in my backyard my whole life. Amazing!! Totally different than dried, think grape and raisin. Love your blog, you make me smile!


    • Jessica — May 17th, 2013 @ 9:34 am

      YES! love them so much, but unfortunately where i live they are available for about 30 seconds every year.


      • Deb — May 17th, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

        Here too, but it’s a glorious 30 seconds!

  7. #
    Julie — May 17, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    These cookies will be a great way to use up some of my many jars of jam and preserves!


  8. #
    Colette | Just for Foodies — May 17, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

    We do PB & Raspberry jam sandies, but I love the PB+Fig cookies better!


  9. #
    Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker — May 17, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

    I love PB&J but I’ve never had peanut butter with fig preserves. I love both, and now I’m totally intrigued. I need to try these!


  10. #
    Noelle — May 17, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    These are amazing! I used what I had on hand: almond butter and plum jam, and they are to die for.


  11. #
    Jade Sheldon — May 17, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    I ADORE figs! I’d love to make a gluten free version of this…


  12. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — May 17, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

    Note to self: “Now bring us some figgy pudding” was written by Jess.
    Side-note to self: Try PB&J’s in cookie form … like, now.


  13. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — May 17, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

    “She even signed her name on it. Some lady named… Ruth … Baby Ruth.”

    Forrrrrrrrrrr. evvvvvvvvvvvv. er.


  14. #
    Suzanne @RollWithIt — May 17, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

    I am a fig virgin…aside from fig newtons which you have pointed out are gross so let’s say they don’t count….must try this cookie…like stat!


  15. #
    Luv What You Do — May 17, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

    Oh man, the sandlot is one great movie!
    I love fig preserve and can’t believe that I don’t have any cookie recipes with it. I’ll have to take these on my upcoming camping trip since last year, we hate an entire jar of fig preserve over the weekend : )


  16. #
    Sue — May 17, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

    Do you have the recipe for fig preserves?!


    • Jessica — May 18th, 2013 @ 8:33 am

      nope, i just use store bought!


  17. #
    Mel — May 18, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    Do you think the perfect chewy texture if those would be completely ruined with peanuts? I only have chunky pb on hand and tempted to try it but don’t want to ruin a whole batch!


    • Jessica — May 18th, 2013 @ 8:32 am

      hmmm i think it will still be somewhat chewy – i really don’t care for chunky pb so i don’t feel like i can say so for sure since i never bake with it! if you try it let me know. :)


  18. #
    Nikki — May 18, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a fresh fig that has just fallen off the tree in Italy.


  19. #
    Laura Dembowski — May 18, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    These cookies look awesome! So dense and chewy, not crumbly like a lot of the pb cookies out there. I love that you put jelly in these. I also loooove American Spoon preserves. I always have a few jars in the refrigerator and pantry. I also love dried figs and will have to try them with pb on them.


  20. #
    Cristina A. -The Batchmaker — May 18, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

    Can I possible use strawberry preserves instead of fig?! I am going to try it either way! Love the idea!


  21. #
    nessa — May 19, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    I love figs!


  22. #
    Amanda R. — May 19, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    Made a batch of these today, OMG! I’m in love! Not to mention, pleasantly surprised that I got 5 dozen out of it! Thanks for the awesome recipe!


  23. #
    Megan — May 19, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

    American Spoon Sour Cherry preserves with peanutbutter is AMAZING

    (or even raspberry j!)

    (I’ve never done grape and i’m allergic to strawberries… I’m forced to be adventurous!)


  24. #
    Simone — May 20, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    I made these on Friday night and I must have done something wrong…they wouldn’t actually form a “soft-hard” cookie but demanded to stick to the cookie sheet. They tasted good but could not get the appearance to work!


  25. #
    Sanjana — May 20, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    Okay, I baked this just now (it’s 1am Dubai time) and these are deeeelicious!

    THANK YOU for the recipe!
    I followed the recipe exactly , but wound up with a lot more cookie dough than enough for 20 cookies. I made about 30 and stiff have some left over. Oh well, I’m not gonna complain about cookie dough! :D

    Again, THaaaank you!!


  26. #
    Brooke — May 20, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

    Ooh where in Michigan do you vacation? I’m originally form South West Michigan (where they make the cereal) but have lived in Pittsburgh for 11 years now. I spent many many summers “up north” in and around Lake Michigan. Its so beautiful.


  27. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 20, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

    Oh yum! I can’t wait to make a batch of these cookies :) they look delicious!


  28. #
    Mary — May 21, 2013 @ 3:48 pm

    Oh no! Something went terribly wrong for me! Delicious but the dough was really moist and gummy, not crumbly at all. Followed exactly except I used strawberry preserves because I had no luck finding the fig preserves locally. Very flat with no pretty puff like yours! I will try again, as the taste was worth it! Added a little extra flour after the first batch but to no avail. Thanks for the recipe.


  29. #
    Carie — May 22, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

    I totally love peanut butter and apply jelly sandwiches (but only with the right kind of jelly). Check this out…peanut butter to the max!



  30. #
    Haley Hollis — May 23, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

    i made these last night. they were delicious. thanks for sharing. i actually used strawberry jelly (and probably a little too much, because i didnt measure). they werent as pretty as yours, but they were a hit.


  31. #
    SA — May 27, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

    I made this yesterday and they were soo tasty-and received rave reviews. I will say I love fig but the fig was very light-they were definitely a bit overwhelmed by the pb. I wonder if taking down the amount of pb would make a difference-thoughts?


  32. #
    tasha — May 31, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    Found you via pinterest; made these today. My dough was also summy/gooey like some other commentors. I used natural PB. I’m not sure if that was the culprit, or perhaps not letting the pb/butter cool enough?


    • Jessica — May 31st, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

      natural peanut butter may definitely have been the culprit! i never bake with natural, it just doesn’t yield the same result. it can be finicky.


  33. #
    Molly — November 17, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    I just put these in the over but used a hot pepper jelly instead. I LOVE the combination of sweet and spicy- hope it turns out !!


  34. #
    Marisa Mc — June 11, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

    For these cookies…think I can use fresh black mission figs if I mushed them up??? I bought a ton at the grocery store other since they are only in season for a split second. And these cookies sound awsome.



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