I wasn’t one of those kids who wanted a PBJ sandwich in my lunchbox every day — I was more of a bologna and Kraft cheese kind of gal. (Don’t judge, people change.) And yet, there is still something innately comforting to me about the combination of peanut butter and jelly. These cookies are my attempt to combine that sense of comfort and familiarity with a set of ingredients that better match my grown-up palate.
It doesn’t take long to figure out I’m a little bit of an almond fanatic, so it was an easy leap for me to substitute almond butter in my cookie sandwiches. With apologies to George Washington Carver and the state of Georgia, I much prefer the sweet, cherry-like nuttiness of almonds to their legume counterparts.
For the filling, I chose two options: triple berry conserve, and chocolate ganache. (For traditional ganache, try this recipe, or go a little more high-falutin’ with a creme fraiche ganache here.) Both were great partners for the slightly savory notes of these tender shortbread rounds.
I love these because they are special without being complicated, small without feeling too precious. And let’s face it: no one can resist a tiny little cookie sandwich. There will always be a place on my table for the kind of food that brings out the kid in all of us.
Almond Butter and Jam Cookie Sandwiches
makes 24 cookie sandwiches
1 c. unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 c. all-natural almond butter (I love Justin’s Nut Butters)
1/2 c. demerara or light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. fine salt
2 c. all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur)
granulated sugar for dipping
1/2 c. filling of your choice — jam, chocolate ganache, Nutella, or frosting
(It’s probably rather telling that I always have at least three of the four above on hand.)
Oven 325F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment and set aside.
Cream together butter, almond butter, demerara sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high until well-combined. Gradually beat in half the flour, then stir in the remaining flour by hand.
On a piece of waxed paper, pat the dough out into a 6″x8″ rectangle and cut into 48 equal pieces, about 1″-square each. Roll pieces into balls, and place two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Dip the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup in granulated sugar, then press the balls to flatten them to about 1/4″ in thickness.
Bake 12-14 minutes, until they are lightly brown and the centers are set. You will know they are done because they lose their shine. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for five minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely. Once cool, scoop about a teaspoon of filling on to a cookie, then sandwich with another. Do this like a good parent — gentle, but firm.
Store in an airtight container up to three days. Or freeze, well-wrapped, up to a month, then defrost at room temperature before serving. This is the perfect recipe to get a leg up on your holiday baking…