Rarely do I feel the urge to bake, and much to my annoyance, when the mood strikes it is usually late at night, or in the middle of a blizzard, or when I am just downright too lazy to go back into town to the store. What this means is that I often find myself ill-equipped for following a recipe as it’s written. I’ll have baking powder but no baking soda, brown sugar but no powdered sugar. A 1/4 bag of chocolate chips will be wallowing in the cupboard along with 2 tablespoons of oatmeal and more shredded coconut than I can ever remember buying but I won’t have enough of any one thing to make even a half batch of a single recipe. So I improvise. Often the substitutions and tweaks end up being delicious but there have been some real train wrecks too. I remember one particularly abysmal carrot cake cooked in a tiny cottage at the end of a dead end road during a snow storm in Maine with my best friend after too many bottles of wine. I confess, we ate half of it anyway. Maine in winter can call for desperate measures.
On an unusually peaceful Sunday afternoon last week I suddenly wanted nothing more than to make cookies. I knew I had the basics for something as simple as a sugar cookie, and then I remembered all the half eaten jars of jam in the fridge. With no toaster in the house and bread only making a rare appearance in the kitchen, we suddenly have a glut of jam and no vehicle. I started searching the web for simple, gluten free, thumb print cookies. Instead, I stumbled upon a recipe for peanut butter and jam sandwich cookies. Of course! What goes better with jam than good, old PB?
True to form I had barely a quarter of the peanut butter I needed and it was of the chunky variety, not the called-for smooth type. But when has something as silly as having the necessary ingredients stopped me from trying a new recipe? I mixed the chunky stuff with smooth almond butter and followed the rest of the recipe to the letter (though I did add twice as much salt as suggested and cut out a little of the sugar).
These were by far, the easiest, fastest, yummiest peanut butter cookies I have ever made and they are definitely going to be a staple now. I slathered a few with raspberry jam, a few with Lingonberry jam, and the last with fig preserves. The cookie is light and airy and not to sweet and it actually gets softer a day later making it even more like the best PB&J sandwich–chewy, and with the perfect ratio of PB to J. You can easily swap the peanut butter for another kind of nut butter, though if you use cashew or walnut butter I would add even more salt to the recipe. This would also be a great cookie for making ice cream sandwiches. Just saying.