The step to thicken the peanut butter is optional. It removes excess oil from the peanut butter and allows you to use a generous amount without it oozing or dripping out. You’ll love the cookies even if you don’t do it—but they will just be a tad messier. —Alice Medrich
Gather your equipment: a few paper coffee filters (optional for thickening the peanut butter), two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (non-convection).
Set a two-ply stack of flattened basket style coffee filters (or unfolded Melita style filters, or an arrangement of triangular filters) on top of a few layers or newspaper of paper towels. Spread the peanut butter in a thin layer over the filters. Over the next hour or so—while you mix, bake, and cool the cookies—the filters will absorb oil from the peanut butter. Once in a while, scrape the peanut butter into a heap and re-spread it over the same filters, to hasten the process. By the time the cookies are baked and completely cool you will have thicker, less oozy, (but still deliciously pure) peanut butter.
Make the cookies: In a medium bowl, mix the coconut flour, coconut, sugar, baking powder and salt thoroughly with your hands. Add the butter, egg white, vanilla, and water and mix thoroughly—mashing, pinching, and squeezing with your hands until the ingredients are well blended and equally moist.
Shape slightly rounded tablespoons (18-20 grams) of dough into round pieces and place them at least two inches apart on lined baking sheets. Flatten each as follows: Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on top of one piece of dough and press down with a flat object (I use the bottom of my mortar) until it measures 2 3/4 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick, with slightly ragged edges. Peel off and reuse the paper, repeating until all of the dough is flattened.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes until the cookies are golden all over and browned at the edges. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time. Set the pans on racks to cool completely before filling or storing. Cooled cookies should be crunchy. Shape and bake any leftover dough on a single sheet in the center of the oven. (Cookies keep, unfilled, in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.)
Assemble the cookies: Spread about a 3/4 teaspoon of jam on the bottom of one cookie, and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of peanut butter on the bottom of another. Put the cookies together and repeat until all of the cookies are filled. Store airtight.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).