Peanut Butter and Blackberry Jam Thumbprints

Some of the younger kids in my extended family started school earlier this week, and though I’m used to later starts to the school year than usual, starting school before mid-August seems especially early this year considering my upcoming school year does not officially begun until the first week of October. Thanks, University of Oxford!

Nonetheless, for those heading back to the world of No. 2 pencils, spiral notebooks, and scientific calculators, I made these cookies in celebration of you. PB&J is such a expected back-to-school flavor that it needed to be upgraded with the ideal essence of summer. Readers of the blog know my affinity towards anything with blackberries, so blackberry jam with creamy peanut butter felt like a natural choice.

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Lemon Wreath Cookies

These light, crumbly cookies look like they could be doughnuts or bagels. But thankfully, they are neither. With a light citrus flavor in the cookie itself and a pleasantly strong lemon flavor in the glaze, this recipe from Martha Stewart is a great way to embrace the warmer weather Los Angeles has been having lately. Buttery, not-too-sweet, and easy to make, it might be wise to double the batch because they taste great throughout the day.

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Cream Cheese Lemon Bows

This was one of those baking experiences that did not go entirely smoothly. The cookies turned out quite nice-looking and delicious, but I am not sure if it was my attempt to hurry through the recipe (never a good idea, but I had schoolwork and I really wanted to bake something) or if I didn’t have enough lemon juice to thin out the cookie dough sufficiently. At the end of the day though, they are light, not overly sweet, dense with a nice crumbly texture, and still look like bows. My boyfriend really liked them, as did the people at work with whom I shared the cookies. The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies.

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Orange-Cardamom Madeleines

Having not baked for a while, I decided I wanted to try something more out of the ordinary… not drop cookies, not cupcakes. My boyfriend bought me a madeleine tin a few weeks ago, when he was setting up his school apartment with some nifty cooking implements. I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, and after finding Martha Stewart’s recipe online, I thought it was time. This recipe is super easy and does not require a stand mixer. Yay for fewer things to wash! 🙂

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Cream Cheese Swirl Blondies

Don’t let the name blondies fool you into thinking that this sweet bar cookie is the vanilla, less legitimate version of the double-triple-quadruple chocolate brownie spectaculars that are rich, 100% guilty pillows of chocolate for your teeth. Because they are really really good. And pillow-like. Even the loaf looks like a puffy little pillow right? By the way, I have never referred to brownies as a loaf. But these are. A loaf of blondies. Intense!

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