Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies, and a 30-Day Challenge (30 Days of RAKs)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies
PB&J Sandwich Cookies – recipe in post

Let’s get something straight – no matter how “grown up” I get (really, what does that even mean?) I will always hold a fondness for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Forget fancy and sophisticated, sometimes there’s nothing I want more than this childhood classic. These sandwich cookies began, as things of this nature often do, in my head. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich… Cookies. A great idea, right? I’m so clever, I bet I could win a clever competition.

The cookies are one of my all-time favorites. The Fiancé calls them ‘minimalist’ peanut butter cookies, because they require only a few ingredients, and just minutes to prepare and bake. They’re also a favorite with everyone I share them with, making them my go-to cookies. The recipe is not an original, and can be found scattered around the internet under the name ‘magical peanut butter cookies’ or ‘four ingredient peanut butter cookies’.

The only issue, I found, is that the crumbliness of these particular cookies isn’t ideal for sandwiching such a gooey ingredient as jam or jelly. Like any good PB&J, I expected a little ooze, but these were downright messy… not how I had pictured them! I have a thing about messy food, where I feel a powerful urge to devour it as quickly as possible to prevent it from falling apart any further. I was barely able to snap these pictures. In the future I might try making them as peanut butter and jelly thumbprints, instead (goodbye, cleverness). Of course, you could always sandwich them with something else… like nutella, or chocolate, or more peanut butter. There’s always room for more peanut butter.

Minimalist Peanut Butter Cookies
Minimalist Peanut Butter Cookies

The Challenge:

Before I get to the recipe, I’d like to offer a challenge to anyone willing to accept it. I’ve been seeing a lot of “30-things-for-30-days” challenges (a photo a day for thirty days, a workout a day for thirty days, a chapter a day for thirty days…) and finally got up the gumption to do one. It’s no secret that I’m not very good at sticking to things, though, which is why I’m going to ask you to join me!

For 30 days in the month of March, I am going to do 30 Random Acts of Kindness. What qualifies as a RAK? Well, it could be anything from helping someone carry groceries, or clearing the snow off your neighbors car/driveway in the morning, to leaving a kind note in a public place, or cooking a meal for someone in need. It could be volunteering, or giving a big tip after a meal, or paying for the person in line behind you. You could leave a gift in your mailbox for the delivery person, or give someone a sincere compliment, or write a letter to someone you know. The list is quite literally endless (in fact, there’s even a website dedicated to it: Random Acts of Kindness Ideas, or you can find more here: 101 Random Acts of Kindness).

The best part of giving Random Acts of Kindness is that just as much as you give, you also receive. In fact, just thinking up ways to make someone’s day makes me happy! It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to cost anything, and it doesn’t have to take much time… making it pretty much the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to feel good. There’s an old saying that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, meaning that giving to someone else doesn’t have to take away from yourself, and in fact, makes the whole world a little brighter. That’s what Random Acts of Kindness are about!

So are you with me? Every day for thirty days I will do something, anything, for someone else. When I make a post, I’ll include an update of my latest acts. If you’re reading this after the beginning of the month, you’re not too late! Join whenever, and leave me a comment at the bottom of the page that you’re taking on the challenge. If you take a picture, write about, blog about, or just want to tell me about a Random Act of Kindness you’ve done, or had done to you, send me an email here: [email protected] At the end of the month, I’ll do a round-up of all the things people did.

To join the challenge, leave me a comment at the bottom of the page saying you’d like to participate! If you’ve ever done or received a Random Act of Kindness, tell me about it in your comment. You can also spread the word by sharing this post and encouraging others to join the challenge. Try to do one selfless thing each day for thirty days, and send me an e-mail whenever you do. At the end of the month I’ll make a compilation of all the things everyone did. You in?

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies
Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
Makes about 24 individual cookies – gluten-free

1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Jam (any flavor you like) or nutella, or chocolate, or other nut butter, for sandwiching*

*These are quite messy when sandwiched with jam – if I make them again, I will try making them like thumbprint cookies instead. Otherwise, they can be sandwiched with nutella, dipped in chocolate, or eaten just as they are.

1.    Preheat oven to 350f., and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.    Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the peanut butter and both of the sugars. Be sure there are no lumps of brown sugar remaining. Add the egg, baking soda, and vanilla, and beat until the mixture looks crumbly.
3.    Roll about 1 TBSP sized balls, and place at least a half inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. I used an actual tablespoon measure to help me get uniform cookies. Using the tines of a fork, press each cookie down to flatten slightly. If I were to make these with jam again, I might try pressing my thumb into the cookies and filling the indent with a small dollop of jam – if you try them this way, let me know how they turn out!
4.    Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes, and let cool on for at least 5-10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet (warm cookies are extremely delicate).
5.    Let cookies cool completely, and make sandwiches just before serving. Spread a small amount of jam or nutella onto the underside of one cookie, place another cookie on top, and repeat.
6.    Plain peanut butter cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to several days, and sandwiched cookies can be kept for 1-2 days (though I suggest eating them right away).

To see the final round-up of my 30 Random Acts of Kindness, click here: 30 Random Acts of Kindness in 30 Days (and then some!)

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16 Responses to Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies, and a 30-Day Challenge (30 Days of RAKs)

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks March 1, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    They look awesome! I just wrote a cookbook with 100 PB Recipes and cannot get enough of it! I love today’s Natl Holiday and love this recipe! PB & J and PB & Chocolate…the world’s best flavor combos!

  2. leaf (the indolent cook) March 1, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Looks great! The messiness translates well in the photos to make them look even more delicious. ;) Good luck with the challenge!

  3. Amanda - The Anti-Mom March 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    these cookies look so freaking good! and look super easy to make too! the messier the better :)

  4. mary_smith March 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    YUM!!! I love everything PB&J!!!
    Happy Friday! I’m visiting from Our Everyday Harvest.

  5. Julia {the roasted root} March 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Your 30 day challenge is so thoughtful! It actually made me tear up…the world needs more acts of kindness and I commend you for going the extra mile to make it happen! I can’t wait to hear about your acts of kindness over the next month. As a side note, I LOVE pb & j, just like you! I actually just posted PB & J pancakes…between your cookies and my pancakes, we’re supplying a whooole lotta pb&j happiness!

    • Willow March 2, 2013 at 4:12 am #

      Thank you, Julia! A big part of any 30 day challenge is creating a habit… being kind isn’t hard, and with a little practice should come naturally! If you find yourself with an opportunity to spread a little kindness this month, or anytime, take it!

  6. Justine Sulia March 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    These cookies are one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen, and such a great idea! Can’t wait to try this recipe out!

  7. Deanna Lyn March 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    what a great recipe i will be trying this one soon! found you on the blog hop please visit me anytime at

  8. Words from the Foundation March 2, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    Let me be the first to say “I’m With You” on the 30 day challenge. Here’s today – I was at IKEA, struggling to get a box onto my cart, when a lady and her family went by me in the aisle. She stopped and turned around and asked me if I needed help. But without waiting for my answer (as it was clear I did), she helped me get the box onto my cart. Off I went to the register. I was next in line, and when the self service register cleared, two women came walking over from another lane to take the register, then looked back at me to say “sorry”, we didn’t realize…”. I told them it was okay, to go ahead and take it, and felt good about letting them go ahead. Long story short, gave someone my place in line – no big deal for a random act of kindness.


    • Willow March 2, 2013 at 4:06 am #

      Sheryl, thank you so much for this comment! You made my day. There is no act of kindness too small, and simply being nice to those women is a great way to start the month. Can’t wait to hear what you do next!

  9. Anonymous March 3, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    Hey Willow – Sign me up for the RAK 30 day Challenge!!! I try to be thoughtful of others in a RAK kind of way when I am out and about, already – but it’s time to take it to the next level!!!! Thanks for challenging us – in the kitchen and in the world! You’re the Queen of Nice! *hugs*

    • Willow March 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      Thank you! I’m so glad to have you on board. :D

  10. Hari Chandana March 13, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    OMG.. those are looking super cute and awesome.. Pretty snaps :)

  11. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes March 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Mmmm these cookies look and sound so good – hahaha I am definitely a speed eater when it comes to messy food :) Count me in (albeit a little late) for the RAK Challenge! I am loving all your RAK posts so far, so awesome – do you want the updates emailed to a specific address or message on FB- do you have a preference? xo

    • Willow March 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Thanks, Heather! Glad to have you on board (it is never too late!). You can message me on FB, or email me at [email protected] – whatever is easier for you. Or you can just post to the RAK Challenge event I made on FB, that’s fine, too. No preference! :)

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