I cannot believe that almost three years ago I moved to Boston. I was a shy high-school graduate looking for a new life; a quiet teenager trying to manage in a pool of four thousand other freshmen. Yeah, the girl who asked everybody she met for their phone number in a desperate attempt to make connections, that was me.
Fast forward a couple of months and I suddenly started developing real friendships. I befriended my future roommate in November (I think) and my current group of friends after that. Then came second semester and my life changed a lot. I went from going to bars and clubs to partying in my friends' dorm rooms. Don't get me wrong, it was lots of fun, but it was a big change.
Sophomore year I moved off-campus and thought of myself as an independent adult. Ha ha. Anyways, now it's the end of junior year and I've been blogging for more than a year. Who would've thought.
In the spirit of nostalgia I decided to try a modern take on a childhood favorite: PB & J cookies. They actually taste like the sandwich, but sweeter and cuter. They are also more complicated than spreading some peanut butter on toast and topping it with jelly, but they are worth the work.
PB & J Cookies (adapted from Sweet & Skinny)
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup reduced-fat smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated Splenda or sugar
- 3 tablespoons liquid egg substitute
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Strawberry or grape jelly for filling (about 1/4 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, butter and sweetener on medium speed until mixture is blended, about 3 minutes.
- Add egg substitute and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides with a spatula. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until just incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Set aside 1/2 the dough. Roll the remaining half into 15 balls. Using your thumb or index finger, press a hole into the center of each ball to create a bowl. Fill each hole with 1/2 teaspoon jelly.
- Place the saved dough in between two sheets of plastic wrap until it 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 1 1/2-inch squares and press a fork to create crosshatch marks. Wet the fork slightly to prevent sticking. Lay one cookie top on top of filled cookies; press the sides gently to close.
- Bake cookies until dough is no longer shiny, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully transfer cookies onto wire rack and cool completely.