I’ve always been a fan of whimsy. Puns and corny decorations are right up my alley. Being an innkeeper encouraged my whimsical creativity; the summer called for lemon meltaways, and the winter inspired gingerbread pancakes.
When February rolled around at the inn, I plastered heart garland around the entrance and made these heart-shaped peanut butter and jam cookies. These cookies are a delight in that they are both delicious and adorable. The jam is in the oven just long enough to set and become glossy, making perfect shiny little hearts.
When I was feeling terribly lazy, I would skip making the initial heart indentions in the raw dough. You can see in the photos that the initial heart indentions are just there to give an outline on where to make your second round of indentions. If you skip the first round, you'll have to make your heart shapes blind.
This cookie dough is a little crumbly, so it doesn't hold together completely when you make the hearts. I personally like the rough, mountainous appearance of the outside of the cookies. I think it makes the hearts look more perfect. If you want smoother edges, make sure you don't get the dough too cold.
Peanut-Butter-and-Jam Heart Cookies
Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup a jam of your choice, stirred to loosen (I used seedless strawberry)
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter, then egg. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture until dough forms. If dough is sticky, refrigerate for five to 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Press into 1 3/4-inch rounds. Press hearts into centers using your fingertips. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and reshape hearts using your fingertips or the handle of a wooden spoon (My 1/4 teaspoon worked great!) Fill indentation of each with a generous 1/2 teaspoon jam to form a heart. Bake until cookies are firm, six to seven minutes more.
Photo credit: Exit Flag Photography