Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins


When I was a student at Wheaton College, our cafeteria food was consistently ranked #1 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Rightfully so--the food was stellar, especially for a cafeteria. I remember a Southwestern salad that was to die for, and their Texas cake--well, let me just say I would go all the way to Texas to taste it again. As a celebration of maintaining its spot at the top of the list, once a year the cafeteria would host a super-fancy gourmet dinner, complete with lobster, petit fours, and ice sculptures. Yes, ice sculptures

But I digress... 

The thing I really loved best about my college cafeteria was making my own behemoth peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In the middle of the serving area stood a cut-your-own bread station with every kind of bread under the sun. I used to hack off about a half a loaf of challah bread and slather on the chunky peanut butter and gooey jelly like it was going out of style. In a weird way, this was a declaration of independence for me. Growing up, my mom's version of PBJ was a paper-thin layer of peanut butter and an *itty-bitty* dollop of jelly spread to its absolute limit. I don't fault her; we grew up poor. But I always, always wanted more. So the ability to make Big Mac-sized PBJs was big news for me. And I do mean big news--I'm pretty sure these sandwiches were directly responsible for my being about 20 pounds heavier in college.

In the 10 years since graduation, I've definitely toned down my colossal PBJ habit, but still have a place in my heart (and my belly) for that flavor match made in heaven. Hence trying these peanut butter and jelly muffins. If you're like me and tend to get stuck on Recipe Repeat with the same old apple/blueberry/pumpkin baked goods, this twist on the classic sandwich may be just what you need to break out of your muffin rut. They were a MAJOR hit with my kids. My 6-year-old declared them the best muffins I had ever made. And they certainly are fun with their jelly surprise in the middle. Who doesn't like a jelly surprise?

You could go spelunking in this jelly cave
And, more to the point, who doesn't like peanut butter and jelly?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
(Adapted from Myrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. applesauce
1 egg
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
approx. 1/3 c. grape jelly

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine flours, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.

3. Combine milk, peanut butter, applesauce, egg, melted butter, and vanilla and pour into well in dry ingredients. Stir until just mixed.

4. Coat 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup about halfway with batter, then place 1/2 Tbsp. jelly in the center. Cover with another generous dollop of muffin batter.

5. Bake in preheated oven about 20 minutes, or until muffin tops spring back when touched in the center. 

Makes 12 muffins. 


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