Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Peanut butter and (blueberry) jam muffins


One of the reasons I became addicted to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fairly late was my mother's inexpert skills in determining the correct peanut butter-to-jelly ratio for a sandwich. 

I've come to realize she was a visionary in her use of rye bread.  However, because the rye bread she loved was long and thin, she'd spread the peanut butter more like buttering toast. To make the bread stick, she had to use a very generous amount of grape or strawberry preserves.  The result was a sweet yet slightly bitter caraway seed-studded sandwich.

Then, one day, as an afternoon snack, I had the insight to use stubby slices of Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin bread to make a pbj.  Genius.  Not just the flavor combination of cinnamon, peanut butter, and jelly, but the use of a very small slice of bread resulted in a perfect ratio of bread to peanut butter, requiring only a moderate amount of jelly.  Just enough to brighten the smoky flavor of Skippy Chunky, not enough to overpower it.

I also was the driving household force encouraging my mother to make the ideological shift from creamy to chunky.  And while very small I was convinced that jelly came in two flavors--purple (grape) and red (strawberry) one day in the supermarket I discovered blueberry.  I realized that tart flavors like blueberry, cherry, and orange marmalade were so much tastier with peanut butter, thus resulting in the truly perfect pbj sandwich--3/4 chunky peanut butter, 1/4 tart, fruity jam, between two small slices of untoasted bread.

I cite this history of mine not to be arrogant, but so you understand when I say that these are the best peanut butter muffins I have ever eaten or made, I have researched the subject.

Most peanut butter muffins have an anemic amount of peanut butter in them and lots of butter.  Now, I love butter, but a peanut butter muffin should taste like peanut butter. This muffin recipe has an entire cup of peanut butter, with only a little oil.


Of course, you are all familiar with blueberry muffins.  But suddenly, looking into my refrigerator at a jar of blueberry jam a friend of mine had given me, I realized...peanut butter and jelly muffins are common. Blueberry muffins are also common.  Why not combine the two in an unholy fusion of peanut butter and jelly awesomeness?




Sadly, my jam-making friend Brooke is British and I actually don't think she has ever had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  When I was living in England, I was asked to bring back jars of peanut butter by my British friends when I visited the states on holidays, "because it doesn't taste the same here." PBJs are just not part of the culture of childhood across the pond...but even we yanks can be pretty rigid about what is right and good to eat, flavor-wise.  So think out of the grape jelly jar with these...

Peanut butter and (blueberry) jam muffins

Ingredients

Adapted from Smuckers

--yields 12 muffins--

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons non-iodized sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup 2% milk
 2 large, beaten eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup natural, crunchy peanut butter, well-stirred
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional, but I like to use them to enhance the flavors of peanut butter)

12 teaspoons chunky blueberry jam

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

2. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.

3. Beat milk and egg together.  Add sugar, followed by peanut butter and oil. Incorporate dry and wet mixtures.

4. Fold in white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into muffin liners.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam into the center of each muffin.

5. Bake for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick can be extracted 'clean.'



6 comments:

  1. We only had grape and strawberry as well, and the occasional jar of apple butter. Then one day I had raspberry preserves and now if I'm eating any kind of fruit spread that is not raspberry preserves, I feel somewhat disappointed.

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  2. Holy crap. Could I use grape jam?

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  3. @Flurrious--raspberry preserves might be interesting to try with peanut butter, although I think a plain chocolate muffin with raspberry jam might be a better pairing. And @Blond Duck--you certainly can use grape! Even without the jam, this pb muffin recipe is spectacular!

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  4. White chocolate, blueberry jam, chunky peanut butter...a combo I really love!

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  5. I'm way behind in my reading... I will take my PB&J anyway I can get it, on any bread, off of a spoon if I have to :), but I will say that for me, plain old white bread is the best. There is just something about that soft squishy bread that makes it better (Grilled cheeses too :)).
    And these muffins look painfully good, granted I'm a strawberry jam kind of guy. What can I say, I'm a cheap date :).

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  6. Strawberry jam can certainly be good @Adam! Any jam would suit these muffins!

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