Grown Up PB + J Cookies.

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

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.

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.

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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]

I like it!