Friends, as I look around and take stock of my life, I am happy to report that there is presently… a hell of a lot of peanut butter and jelly happening! There was a dark time when I could not say this. In fact, for most of my life I did not know the joy of PB&J; it only came into my life at the ripe old age of 27. You see, having been born in Israel, much like in other non-American countries, we did not grow up with peanut butter. I swiftly became acquainted with peanut butter in preschool when we moved to the States (I was 4), but we still ate many traditional Israeli foods at home, and PB&J was simply not on the radar. Frankly, it didn’t even sound appetizing. But don’t feel too sorry for me – I got to bring lunches of white bread and Israeli chocolate spread to school, so I wasn’t wanting for things like fruit in my lunchbox…
Fortunately, I realized the brilliance and deliciousness of PB&J later on in life, and although it didn’t pepper my childhood like a normal American, I happily embrace it as an adult. Lately, PB&J riffs seem to be everywhere, such as these delectable items:
I welcome any and all well-done PB&J creations (can’t wait to make these), so I was thrilled that these Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Morning Muffins from Baked Occasions came up on our Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for this week! We are making them in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday, who apparently liked “typical American foods”. However, these need no special occasion whatsoever– they are appropriate any time, any place! And preferably, as often as possible, if you ask me.
The book suggests grape jelly, except EWW, so I was planning to stick with strawberry or raspberry jam. I was just minding my own business at the store, when this Blueberry Bourbon Vanilla Jam caught my eye and I couldn’t resist. So I decided to do half the muffins with strawberry-raspberry jam and half with the blueberry stuff.
You’ll start by making the crumb topping, which is simply a combination of chopped, toasted peanuts, flour, dark brown sugar, and salt, folded together with melted butter until it forms a crumbly mixture.
Like most muffins, these are very quick and easy to pull together. You’ll whisk the dry ingredients (flour, granulated and dark brown sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt) and the wet ingredients (milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg, vanilla extract) in separate bowls. For the dry bowl, it’s best to break up any big chunks of brown sugar to avoid weird lumps in your batter. The wet ingredients took a bit of elbow grease to combine; the peanut butter was not completely emulsified. I wonder if beating it in a stand mixer or with an immersion blender would work better?
You’ll then pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold everything together just until combined. The batter was somewhat oily, so I was worried at that point that the muffins would be swimming in grease (but they were actually fine). The batter will be quite thick.
Then put about 2 tablespoons of batter in each well of your muffin pan, which you’ll top with a heaping teaspoon of jelly. The jelly was difficult to corral in the center of the muffin batter– I’d try to make a well next time, though I actually like the “marbled” look of jelly seeping through to the muffin edges. Top this with another 2 tablespoons of batter, followed by a generous handful of the crumb topping.
The recipe says to bake the muffins 1 minute longer once you’ve gotten a clean toothpick test because they may sink if underdone; mine baked for a total of 15 minutes, and the tops were pretty level, if not slightly domed, and beautifully golden!
The photo in the book shows jelly literally spilling out of the muffin; mine were not at all like that. The jelly baked into the muffin a bit, though the flavor was still very present. I went a little easy on the jelly since it was hard to keep it in the center, but next time I’d probably put a little more in. Or maybe I could swirl it into the batter for an integrated PB&J flavor? Or a little of both? Guess I need to make another batch to figure it out… 😉
The muffin itself has a pleasantly fluffy crumb and great peanut buttery flavor, and it would pair with any jelly flavor of your choosing. I’d love to try strawberry-rhubarb next time! May I just say that the crumb texture could not be more perfect– every muffin/coffee cake crumb should be just like this! The crumbs are buttery and crisp, and the salty, crunchy peanuts are positively lovely.
Incidentally… In case you were wondering if these muffins would taste good alongside PB&J ice cream but you were a little hesitant… DON’T WORRY– I tested it for you, and it does not suck. 😀
When you’re ready to get your PB&J on, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Morning Muffins, and take a peek at my fellow PB&J lovers’ scrumptious muffins!
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2015.