My daughter and I are the real peanut butter lovers in our house. So my reason behind choosing this recipe was just so I could have some fun making these with her. Halfway into rolling the cookie dough into balls, I realized this had been a bad idea because my daughter insisted she was handling play-doh and soon everything was going to end up all over the kitchen floor. So I took over the dough and allowed her to poke holes into the center of each cookie, using a wooden spoon. I had to make them a little larger than teaspoon-sized because my daughter kept smashing them while trying to poke the hole! The end result was a little messy looking cookie, but we did have a lot of fun baking them together.
These buttery, shortbread-like cookies were a big hit with my toddler, her favorite part being the strawberry jam center.
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter - crunchy (Dorie's choice) or smooth
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, separated
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), finely chopped
about 3/4 cup jam or jelly (cherry, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry are particularly good)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars together on medium speed until very light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and continue to beat until well blended. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until incorporated.
Put the 2 egg whites in a small bowl and beat them with a fork until slightly frothy. Put the chopped nuts in another bowl.
Working with a teaspoon of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms to form balls, turn them in the egg whites till completely coated and then drop them into the nuts and roll to coat. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Steadying each cookie with the thumb and finger of one hand, use the pinkie of your other hand (or the end of a wooden spoon) to poke a hole in the center of each cookie. Be careful not to go all the way down to the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway mark. The cookies will be lightly golder. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to a rack.
Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets before baking a new batch.
Put the jam or jelly in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, stirring, over low heat. Using a small spoon, fill each thumbprint with hot jam. Allow the cookies - and especially the jam - to cool to room temperature, at which point the jam will form a shiny , nonsticky finish.
Thank you to all the BWD bakers for baking along with me this week. Please check out the blogroll here to see everyone elses's thumbprint cookies, and please note that the gluten-free version of these cookies will be up on Elizabeths' blog Gluten-Free Baking 101 tomorrow (Tuesday). We are baking Pumpkin Muffins next, picked by Elizabeth. If you'd like to join our baking challenge, please email me at needfulthings at ymail dot com. We'd love to have you bake along with us!