As the holidays approach many of us are starting to formulate ideas for our menus so let’s think desserts for a moment. Some of the favorites for the holidays are pies and cookies. My family couldn’t go through Thanksgiving or Christmas without pumpkin and/or sweet potato pies. Cobblers too were popular in our household. Mainly peach and blackberry cobblers. If my grandmother couldn’t find fresh peaches or blackberries for the season, she would buy frozen. Still works.

As my chef journey progressed, I realized the area in my cooking game that was lacking in depth was with desserts. That’s probably because I don’t eat a lot of desserts but once I started cooking for others it became apparent that I had to develop and refine my dessert concepts. So, I delved into creating my dessert menus. One is a peanut butter cookie recipe that was developed completely by accident. I love peanut butter cookies and was in the process of making them when I accidentally spilled dried cherries into the batter. I love fruit. Fresh or dried and I was making another dish with the dried cherries. I stood there looking at the batter thinking oh why not! I stirred them into the batter. Since they were dried, I didn’t have a moisture issue but sugar levels will change. I don’t put the usual suggested levels of sugar in my desserts, particularly those with fruit, so the sugar levels with the dried cherries and brown and white cane sugars would balance out.

jae cookie full

Here's my Jazzy Jae Peanut Butter Cherry Cookie recipe:
1 stick butter
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup white cane sugar
1 egg
¼ cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
½ dried cherries
1 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350. In one bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix the sugar, softened butter and egg. Once blended well slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Once mixed smoothly together add the peanut butter, heavy cream, and cherries. Mix well and spoon onto a greased baking pan. Bake about 15-18 minutes and check them. It could be a bit longer depending on how big you make the cookies but start checking at 15 minutes. If they’re smaller cookies start looking at about 12 minutes.

I will never forget the first bite I took wondering if the cherries would work with the peanut butter. To say it worked was the understatement. These peanut butter cookies quickly became my favorites! Friends that have tried them always ask me when I will be making more. Ha! Dried cherries are easy to find during the holiday season and fall and winter months. They work perfectly in my cooking concoction. Soon after I started adding the dried cherries to several other desserts such as brownies. If you’re looking to put a twist on an old favorite classic, try the Jazzy Jae variety of the peanut butter cookie! Happy Holidays!!!

 Jae Sinnett hosts Sinnett in Session, The R&B Chronicles, and Students in Session on WHRV FM. He also shares his love of the culinary arts on Cooking with Jae on Facebook every Sunday at 6 p.m. Plus, catch up with past episodes