I was in the mood for PB & J but had no bread in the house to make a sandwich with, so I decided to make cookies to satisfy my PB & J craving.
No bread? No problem.
When all else fails, I resort to cookie-making.
These no-bake thumbprints remind me of the thumbprint cookies my grandma used to slave over before Christmas every year.
Except these thumbprints took me 10 minutes to make, no baking was required, they’re vegan and gluten free.
No slaving away involved.
Sometimes running out of bread is a good thing because you can eat cookies instead of bread when PB & J cravings hit.
And cookies are better than bread.
I literally flipped a couple into my mouth seconds after the photo shoot was dismantled.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies (No-Bake, Vegan, Gluten Free)
Makes 10 to 12 smaller cookies, or 6 to 8 larger cookies
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used store-brand, inexpensive, non-“natural”, creamy peanut butter*)
1/8 cup butter, softened (2 tablespoons) – or margarine, Earth Balance, or similar if keeping vegan
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (to make gluten free, use a gluten free flour blend of your choice such almond/oat/peanut/rice flour)
pinch salt, optional
1/4 cup jelly, or to taste (I used strawberry jelly; or use grape, apricot, or your favorite jelly, jam, or preserves)
In a small bowl, whip the peanut butter and butter until creamy. I did this by hand but you can do it in a mixer if desired. Tip: microwave the peanut butter and butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 15 seconds, taking care not to melt them but just soften them, and they will combine easier. Add the sugars and whip until smooth. Add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, flour (add the flour slowly in case you need slightly less than recipe indicates) and stir until combined.
The dough should be easy to work with and form into balls at this point, but if the dough is dry or crumbly and is not coming together, add a touch more peanut butter and mix until desired consistency is achieved. Conversely, it dough is too wet or sticky, add slightly more flour. Also, chilling the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 20-30 minutes prior to shaping it into balls can be helpful if the dough is a little wet or sticky.
After appropriate dough consistency is reached, roll the dough into 1 inch golf ball-sized shapes. After the balls are rolled, indent the tops with your thumb, making a well for the jelly. After making the well, I raised the sides of the cookie up by “pulling” the dough up a bit, ensuring they cookies weren’t too shallow to properly contain the jelly. Treat the dough like clay and form the shapes and sides as you see fit. Then full each well with approximately 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of jelly.
Store extras in the refrigerator for weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months for longer term storage. I have successfully stored batches of no-bake cookies and cookie dough balls for many months in the freezer but do as you see fit and use common sense.
Notes: Someone will likely ask me if they can make these with almond butter, cookie butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, or alternate nut butter or spread and the answer is yes; bu,t you may need to play around with the ratio of dry ingredients (increase them) since most other nut butters tend to be runnier than peanut butter and you will need more dry ingredients in order to get the dough to come together.
*I recommend using non-natural peanut butter. Something like Jif, Skippy, or similar. Peanut butter that separates into a solid and oil is not recommended for these cookies.
Raw cookie dough, particularly of the peanut butter variety, is always welcome. The thumbprint peanut butter dough is some of my favorite to date.
It’s sweet, full of robust peanut butter flavor, and the vanilla flavor is pronounced.
I adore vanilla and it tends to get lost in many recipes, which is why I almost always double the amount if I’m following someone else’s recipe. And although peanut butter is a strong flavor, the vanilla didn’t get lost at all.
Nor does the jelly get lost.
I made sure to fill the cookie cavities to the brim with jelly.
Okay, I filled the jelly just a little higher than flush with the cookie tops. I’m on a roll with overflowing and overfilling cookies lately.
What can I say. I love any kind of dips, spreads, sauces, frosting, and condiments in general are my friends. They just make everything taste better, and I use a lot of them.
I am that person that needs extra of my extra. I’ll take 3 french fries with 3 cups of ketchup, please.
I consider jelly a condiment and one that I am not shy about using.
Especially when it’s paired with peanut butter in cookie form. PB & J is a combination I never tire of.
And I never tire of cookies.
Scott said the PB & J Thumbprints are his newest favorite dessert, which is a whopping two days after he last claimed that with the Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies with PB Cups & PB M&M’s. Men. So fickle.
Other recent no-bake cookie dough and cookie balls using peanut butter (or cookie butter spread) include:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (No Bake, Vegan, GF)
Cookie Butter Spread Ginger Molasses Cookies (No Bake, Vegan, with GF option)
Pretzel, Peanut, Caramel, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles (No-Bake with Vegan & GF options)
I have an entire post devoted to No-Bake Balls, Bites, and Truffles here
Have you ever made thumbprint cookies?
Do you love the combination of peanut butter and jelly? Peanut butter and chocolate?
PB & J is great.
PB & C is my other favorite way to eat peanut butter:
Nutter Butter Special K Bars (No Bake)
Happy peanut butter eating. January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day.