What’s better than good ol’ PB & J? These Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies, of course!
Peanut butter and jelly are best pals, and for good reason. Hello, salty peanut butter. Oh hi, sweet jam. Yep, perfect.
I’ve brought these flavors together before in smoothie form, but for this year’s new cookie recipe, I thought it might be fun to create a vegan thumbprint cookie, and PB & J seemed like a natural twist.
Peanut butter cookies lend themselves well to a vegan application because of both the fat and binding properties peanut butter has. Butter is often used in cookies for the fat, and eggs for binding. My thought was, what if I just go scorched earth and replace both butter and eggs with peanut butter? What would happen?
It took a little bit of tweaking to get the flour-to-PB ratio just right, but once I did, these melt-in-your mouth gems were the result. I love these cookies, but my guy LOOOOOVVVVVEEESSS them. I find one or two to be plenty rich and satisfying, but he can make a whole platter disappear. So I have a sneaking suspicion these are going to be making an appearance in our kitchen over and over again.
Which is another reason why I adore the simple list of ingredients and how easy these Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies are to make.
How to Make Vegan Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
The list of ingredients is pretty short, which I love! We’ve got:
- Peanut butter – Of course. It tastes good, it binds good, it’s all good!
- Sugar – Straight-up granulated.
- Vanilla extract – Always a good thing.
- Almond milk – Unsweetened please.
- Flour – All-purpose; though I have a sneaking suspicion that a one-for-one gluten-free blend would work great too.
- Sea salt – Just a bit.
- Baking powder – For a little lift.
- Jam – Not officially jelly (I like strawberry jam best) but you can use whichever preserves you like!
To make the dough, blend together the peanut butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla and almond milk, and then sift in the flour, sea salt, and baking powder. Mix just until the dough comes together. It’s an extremely thick dough – almost pie-crust-like in that it’s dense and crumby but comes together when you squeeze it.
Then, you scoop out tablespoonfuls, round them with your hands, and bake.
As soon as they come out of the oven, use a round teaspoon to create the indents in the centers. The cookies will crack; it’s part of their charm!
Then let them cool …
And fill them with jam and maybe add a few stripes of glaze over the top, if you really want to dress them up.
These Vegan Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies are rich and dense, with loads of peanut butter that just melts in your mouth. The jam adds a happy sweet counterpoint and with their small size, you get a bit of jam in each bite. So good.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (That's 1 cup plus another 1/4 cup. I use Jif; I have not used all-natural peanut butter for this recipe)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (Be sure it's vegan if that's important to you)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam (or your favorite jam or jelly; apricot and raspberry are delicious too)
For the icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened plain almond milk (Plus another teaspoon or two if needed)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment affixed or to a medium-size mixing bowl (using a hand mixer), add the peanut butter and sugar. Cream together with the mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the almond milk and vanilla extract. Mix on low at first (so it doesn't splash) and then medium speed until well-combined, about 30 more seconds.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and sea salt over the top of the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed just until combined. The dough will be very stiff and even a little crumbly.
- Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out dough (I use a heaping tablespoon of dough per cookie). Press the dough together with your hands then carefully shape into a ball. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping 2-3 inches between cookies.
- Bake until slightly puffed and golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes.
- Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately, while the cookies are still hot, use a rounded teaspoon to press an indent into the middle of each cookie. Let cookies continue to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 more minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Add a scant teaspoon of jam to the middle of each cookie.
- Make the icing. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, almond milk, and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and, using a fork, stir until combined. You may need to add a teaspoon or two more of the milk to get to a thick, paste-like consistency.
- To ice, set the cooling rack of filled cookies over some paper towels. Spoon the icing into a ziploc bag and snip the corner off. Squeeze lines of icing over the cookies. Let sit for about 15 minutes to harden.