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A&E >  Food

In the Kitchen With Ricky: Peanut butter and jelly muffins are a twist on a childhood favorite

By Ricky Webster For The Spokesman-Review

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day is Saturday, and I have a favorite recipe to share with you this week to help celebrate. Peanut butter and jelly is such a staple food. For many of us, it takes us back to childhood. I still can vividly remember pulling out a warm PB&J sandwich from my brown sack lunch and eating it on the playground at lunchtime.

It is such a nostalgic item that it interests many national brands and chefs alike. There have been many iterations of PB&J creations that have made it onto store shelves: Uncrustables, protein bars, soda and candy, to name a few. Chefs often play with this combo creating items like burgers, ice creams, desserts and cocktails. Any way you consume it, there’s something about the original salty-sweet combo that makes it so crave-able and certainly brings back memories.

Turning these ingredients into a muffin is a perfect way to repurpose the combination, and it almost feels like it was always meant to be. This recipe is a version of a PB&J muffin that my pastry team and I made while working in downtown Los Angeles. The hotel coffee bar that sold these would have a difficult time keeping them in stock, and people loved them for breakfast with a hot latte or as an afternoon snack with a glass of milk.

This recipe can be altered if you have a peanut allergy. Feel free to swap out the peanut butter for another nut butter or even sunflower seed butter. You can also use whatever jelly or preserves you’d like. I went classic with grape that I had in my pantry, but I really enjoy these with apricot or raspberry.

The muffins freeze well, so if you can’t consume or share a whole batch at once, divide them after they’ve cooled (and before filling with the jelly) and freeze. Then all you’ll have to do is take them out of the freezer, thaw and fill. But as wonderful as these muffins are, nothing beats a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

My ideal sandwich is on butter-top white bread with crunchy peanut butter and apricot jam. However you prefer yours, celebrate the national day this Saturday with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and/or a batch of these muffins. I think you and yours will find that they satisfy all your PB&J cravings.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

⅔ cup whole milk

1 stick (¼ pound) unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk

¾ cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup jam or preserves of choice

Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt by whisking together. Set aside.

Combine the milk, melted butter, egg and egg yolk, brown sugar and vanilla by whisking until the mixture is smooth and completely incorporated.

Add the wet mixture to the whisked dry mixture. With a rubber spatula, combine by folding until the mixture is combined and few lumps remain.

Add the peanut butter and with the same spatula fold the mixture to distribute but not combine the peanut butter (you want a ribbon or swirl of peanut butter to be throughout).

Line a muffin tin with liners (I used jumbo-sized, but you can use traditional), or if you don’t have liners, butter and flour the tin itself.

Scoop your batter into the prepared pan. If you are making jumbo muffins, you should get eight. If you are making standard-sized muffins, the yield will be 10 to 12.

Once the batter is evenly distributed, place it on a rack in the middle of your oven. Bake the regular size for about 20 minutes and jumbo for about 26-28 minutes.

Test by lightly pressing the center or use a toothpick and test to make sure it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack.

When still warm, scoop out the center with a metal spoon (I like a grapefruit spoon to do this, and it gives it another purpose).

Fill the scooped-out muffin with a tablespoon or so of jam of choice. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Yield: 8-12 muffins

Local award-winning chef and Rind and Wheat owner Ricky Webster can be reached at Follow Webster on Instagram @rickycaker.

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