Why It Works
- Using egg whites rather than whole eggs gives the cookies a texture that's crisp, not crumbly.
- Adding the egg whites slowly helps the dough cream up fluffy, so the cookies are light and crisp, not dense.
- In summer months, chilling the dough makes it easier to handle.
There's something about the combination of peanut butter and jelly that I'll never outgrow. In cookie form, it's salty, sweet, and super crunchy—perfect with a glass of milk as an after-school snack. And no, it doesn't matter how long ago you graduated, to paraphrase an old saying: It's after school somewhere.
- For the Cookies:
- 3 ounces unsalted butter (6 tablespoons; 85g), cool but firm, about 65°F
- 3 ounces creamy peanut butter (1/3 cup; 85g), not reduced-fat or non-homogenized (see note)
- 7 ounces sugar (1 cup; 200g)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
- 2 large egg whites, well beaten (about 1/4 cup; 2 1/4 ounces; 65g)
- 9 ounces all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon; 255g), plus more for dusting work surface
- For the Filling:
- About 6 ounces peanut butter, creamy or crunchy (2/3 cup; 170g)
- 5 ounces jam or jelly (140g; volume will vary)
For the Cookies: Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until soft, about 5 minutes, then add egg whites in 4 or 5 additions. After incorporating, scrape bowl and beater with a flexible spatula; resume mixing on low and sprinkle in flour to form a soft dough. Divide in half and flatten into disks. If dough is too soft to roll, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F. On a generously floured surface, roll a portion of dough into a 5-inch square. Sprinkle with more flour, flip onto the other side, then dust again and roll until about 1/8 inch thick. If necessary, loosen dough from work surface with an offset spatula, then cut into 2-inch rounds, or whatever shape you prefer. Use spatula to transfer to a parchment-lined half sheet pan, then gather scraps, re-roll, and cut again. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake cookies until pale gold around the very edges, about 12 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
For the Filling: Spread a tablespoon of peanut butter over the bottom of half the cookies, top with a teaspoon of jam or jelly, then sandwich with remaining cookies. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container up to 24 hours.
Stand mixer, rolling pin, large offset spatula
This recipe works best with full-fat commercial peanut butter. Experiments with fresh-ground, "lite," and natural-style peanut butters produced cookies that were unpleasantly dense or tough.