This cookie recipe began in the midst of the Arizona desert.
I was out at the Yuma Proving Grounds to observe an Operational Test (OT) event in which some of my vehicles were being tested. On this particular day, we were having lunch on the base, and my buddy Ray was telling Carol and me about the amazing Oatmeal Raisin cookies this place had…cookies which they had sold out of by the time we arrived. As charming as Ray can be, he was unable to make any of these fabled cookies appear before we left, so I said to Ray as we drove away in my rented Challenger (the boys were drooling over that one), “I’m going to make cookies just for you, Ray, but I don’t like oatmeal raisin. Let’s see what kind of cookie we can build.” So it was determined that it would be an oatmeal cookie of sorts and that Ray gave two thumbs up to anything with peanut butter. At first I thought to do a spin on the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I had made for Sue a few years back (she is a self-proclaimed peanut butter freak). Then I remembered that Emilie and I were going to pick blackberries in a few days atWestmoreland Berry Farm. How about trading blackberries for the raisins? Now how was I going to do that? I like challenges.
A couple of weeks passed. The blackberries had since been transformed into jam and I still hadn’t made Ray his cookies. He teased me every time he came by the office saying I’d forgotten him. Finally the day came when I went home from work absolutely determined to make my friend the cookies I had promised!
Darn blackberries, how was I going to do this without turning the cookies a questionable purple? I stood staring into the fridge at a fresh pint of berries when my eyes wandered over to the homemade jar of blackberry jam. I had a sudden vision of fruit tarts, which was followed by a flash of Helena Bonham Carter screaming “Off with her head!” from Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Heck, why not?
As I tasted the two different cookie variations I made that night, I sent Ray a text message letting him know his cookies would be waiting for him the next day. To be safe, I took two of each cookie, wrapped them, and tied the package with a bow. Good thing I did, because they went fast! Yup, I think it is safe to say that these were a hit.
This recipe and directions are for the tart-like version, which I believe is the better of the two.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal and Blackberry Tarts
Makes 24-30 cookies
- 1 cup flour (I used ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour and ¼ all purpose)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup favorite jam or preserves (I used the blackberry jam Emilie and I made)
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, and oats. Blend with a whisk or fork and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla and cream together.
- Add peanut butter to creamed butter mixture and blend well.
- Gradually, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until all ingredients are well blended together into a dough.
- Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet with a large spoon.
- Bake for 7 minutes and remove cookies from oven.
- Using a small spoon, press the center of each cookie down to create an indentation.
- In this indentation, spoon about 1 tsp of jam.
- Return cookies to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the edges.
- Allow to cookies to cool about 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.