I did not grow up eating PB & J sandwiches and consequently, I can skip the line when they are served with a blank face and no emotion, my friends don't understand, M is used to it (I think he's happy cause he can eat a whole jar but sadly he has to share it with Snoopy, that's a whole different story for another day). But add chocolate to the mix and I'll probably push everyone out to be right up front when they serve it. Regular salted butter with jelly is what I grew up with, peanut butter is an oddity back in India, at least when and where I grew up. Maybe the sell it there as a consequence of globalization but I don't think I saw it anywhere the last time we visited. A friend recently told me that the first thing his friends in London request from back home, PEANUT BUTTER.
But since I've learned that a dash of cocoa helps me overcome my most darkest fears, it's time for me to explore new ideas and I did, with these sandwich cookies, part peanut butter and part cocoa, part rye and part whole-wheat, you can eat them as is or sandwich them with your favorite jelly (I like the berry type jams made of raspberry, strawberry or mixed fruit).
Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when baking these cookies;
- I've used rye and whole-wheat pastry flours from Bob's Red Mill and TCHO's cocoa powder in this recipe. The whole-grain flours bring a natural sweetness and nuttiness to the flavors in the cocoa powder and the peanut butter.
- Make sure you stir the peanut butter well to disperse the fat and solids evenly before using.
- Since these cookies are made with butter, they are delicate once removed from the oven so I let them cool on the cookie tray itself without disturbing them. Once cooled and I'm confident they're able to move, I will move them to a wire rack and let them cool a little more before I spread them with a little jelly.
- You can probably do a whole lot of different designs with these two doughs, this should give you a rough guide on the possibilities. So have fun!!!
- Depending on how you shape them or cut them you might end up with a slightly different number of cookies than I did. Also you can have sharper edges on the cookies, if you decide to trim the dough from all the sides.
cocoa peanut butter jelly sandwich cookies (rye and whole-wheat)
yields: about 20-22 individual cookies
1 1/4 cups (194 gm) rye flour
1 cup (317 gm) whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
for the cocoa dough:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
80 gm fine-grain sugar
10 tablespoons (113gm) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
for the peanut butter dough:
80 gm fine-grain sugar
1/4 cup (70gm) whole-fat, unsalted, unsweetened creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons (85gm) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
your favorite jelly/jam - I used a mixed berry jam
1. Sift all the dry ingredients from the flour to the salt. Divide by weight into two equal halves and keep aside on sheets of parchment paper until ready to use.
2. To prepare the cocoa dough: Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the cocoa powder, sugar, butter and egg yolk until smooth for about 5 to 6 minutes on medium-high speed. Fold in one half of the flour mixture (separated earlier) and combine to form a smooth dough. (You might need to bring the dough together with your hands). Wrap with cling film and keep aside.
3. To prepare the peanut butter cookie dough: Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, cream the sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg yolk until smooth for about 5 to 6 minutes on medium-high speed. Fold in the remaining half of the flour mixture (separated earlier) and combine to form a smooth dough. (You might need to bring the dough together with your hands). Wrap with cling film and keep aside.
4. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the cocoa dough to form a 7.5 X 10.5 inch rectangle and keep aside. Repeat this with the peanut butter dough. Then remove the top sheet of parchment paper from the peanut butter cookie dough and carefully, place and align the rolled out cocoa cookie dough on top. Trim the edges with a sharp paring knife and cut the double layered dough into approximately 1 inch strips and then place each strip on top of the other to form a stack. Lay the stack down flat and cut it into 4 equal parts. Stack each part on top of each other and lay the stack down. Using your hands gently align and press the stacks together. Wrap the dough with cling film or parchment paper and keep it in the freezer on a flat surface for 30 minutes. Once the dough has hardened, unwrap and using a sharp serrated bread knife trim the edges if desired, then slice the block across the shorter lengthinto about 20 to 22 cookies of equal thickness (about 0.5cm thick). Equally distribute the cookies carefully on to two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and freeze for another 30 minutes.
5. Place a wire rack at upper third level of the oven and preheat to 375F. Bake one batch of cookies at a time for about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled completely, eat or make sandwiches by spreading a little jam between two cookies.