Monday 14 May 2012

PB&J Muffins

Because the price has increased so much lately, peanut butter is firmly consigned to our “treat list."  A couple of weeks ago, though, I found it at Costco for a price I haven’t seen in years:  Squirrel smoth peanut butter was priced at less than $3.00 for a 1 kg jar.  The expiration date on the jars was distant enough that I splurged and bought two.

I know that the Squirrel peanut butter I bought at Costco is not as good for you as an all-natural peanut butter would be, but we’ve had some issues with all natural nut butters at our house. 

The oil rises to the top of the jar in an all-natural peanut butter and my husband steadfastly refuses to stir the butter in the jar before using it.  He ends up spreading runny, oily-textured goo on his toast, and I end up throwing away the layer of near-solid, unuseable sludge that accumlates at the bottom of the jar.  My guy dislikes the flavor of the goo, and I resent the waste that results from having to throw the sludge away. 

It’s been known to cause aruguments between us.  :^/

Life is too short to argue about peanut butter so I buy Squirrel and console myself that most of what we eat is actually quite healthy.


Since I have an abundance of affordable peanut butter in the house right now, I’ve been doing some baking with it.  I’ve missed the flavor so it’s been fun.

This weekend, I was thumbing through my old “Magnificent Muffins Cookbook” and came across a recipe for peanut butter and jelly muffins.  They looked like something the big guy would enjoy, so I baked some.

I can never leave a recipe alone so I tweaked it some, adding a jam filling to the muffins and using salted peanuts for the topping instead of plain blanched peanuts.  My fella liked them enough to say he thinks I should keep the recipe.

To make PB&J Muffins, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • about 1/2 cup jam or jelly (I used raspberry because I had a jar open.  Use whatever you like or have on hand.)
  • about 1/2 cup blanched, salted peanuts
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Work the peanut butter and butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.

Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add in the egg and buttermilk mixture and mix the batter until just combined.  You’ll end up with a fairly thick, somewhat sticky mixture.

Oil a muffin pan and spoon enough batter into the bottom of each muffin cup to fill it about one third of the way full.  This should use about half the batter.

Spoon some jam into each cup, on top of the batter.  I used about a teaspoon of jam for each

The next part is a bit fiddly.  Spoon in some more batter so that it forms kind of a wall around the jam in each muffin.  Add another dollop of batter directly on top of the jam.  Wet your fingers and use them to smooth the batter so that the jam is completely covered.

Bake the muffins on the center rack of a preheated 350ºF oven for 20 to 25 minutes. 
While the muffins are baking, spread the peanuts in a single layer in a baking pan and put them in the oven to toast.  Toast them just until you start to smell them cooking.  Be careful!  They burn quickly!  As soon as they’re warmed through and start to take on just a tiny hint of colour, remove them from the oven.

When the muffins are finished baking they should be lightly browned around the edges and should spring back when you press lightly on the tops.

Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

When the muffins have cooled completely, chop the peanuts quite fine and put the chopped nuts into a small dish.

Put a quarter cup of jam into a microwave safe container and heat it for a few seconds. (I heated mine for 20 seconds on high.)  Give it a good stir to loosen it up.

Working with one muffin at a time, brush the top of each muffin with jam, coating the entire top of the muffin but not the sides.  Dip the jam-coated muffin top into to bowl of chopped peanuts, pressing down enough that chopped peanuts stick to the jam.  The peanuts pack down when you do this, so you’ll want to give them a stir with a fork between each muffin so that they continue to coat the tops evenly.

These muffins are best served at room temperature.  Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and used up within a day or two, or they can be frozen.

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