Monday, March 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Jelly Muffins

Well, here at Study Central, I've started counting down the days until spring break. Everyone's up to their eyeballs in midterms and desperately wishing that vacation would come just a little faster. 

I've been brainstorming countless recipes to make and share, but I sort of ran into blogger's block for a week. It seemed that everything I wanted to make was too similar to things I've posted recently. However, on Sunday afternoon, I had a bit of a brainwave.

I've had peanut butter on my mind lately, but I wanted to steer clear of its usual companion; chocolate. If you're really craving some chocolate-peanut butter action, I recommend you head over to my peanut butter swirl brownies--but I digress.

I made these peanut butter jelly "muffins" in bar form a few years ago, and had completely forgotten about them until my brainwave. Peanut butter dough sandwiching a layer of jelly, with some crunchy peanuts on top--count me in. I didn't have a small enough pan, so I brought out my trusty muffin tin and hoped for the best.

They're absolutely delicious and perfect for a breakfast on the go. Peanutty yet bright, rich but still light, these babies are sure to please everyone with a soul who has a hankering for that old PB&J taste.

You will need:
 -1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
 -3/4 cup of peanut butter (chunky or smooth, doesn't matter)
 -3/4 cup of light brown sugar
 -1 1/2 cups of flour
 -1 egg
 -1 tsp vanilla extract
 -pinch of baking powder
 -1/4 tsp salt
 -1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
 -3/4 cup jelly of choice

Oven temperature: 350˚F

Start by mixing your peanut butter, butter, and sugar together. Use an electric mixer unless you're looking for an arm workout. 

Next, add your egg and vanilla. Keep mixing until it's all combined.

Then, add your dry ingredients--flour, salt, and baking powder. Keep combining until it holds together. Use your hands to sort of knead it a little bit if you'd like. At this point, divide your dough in half, and put one half in the freezer.

Lightly grease a muffin tin. Push your dough into each well to make an even layer. Use all of the dough, and try to put an even amount in each one.

Fill a tablespoon measure about 3/4 full with your jelly, then spread over each muffin base. Again, try and get this as even as possible! As the muffins cook, the jelly will bubble, and you do not want hot, sticky jelly all over your oven or yourself. Trust me on that one.

Next, take the other half of the dough out of the freezer and crumble it over each muffin. Push it down into the jelly to make it stick. They can be pretty large dough chunks, but they really do add a lot to the texture.

Finally, top with your chopped peanuts, pressing down to make them stick in the dough. Pop them in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the jelly is bubbling and the peanuts are golden. 

Remove from the oven and let them cool completely before attempting to dislodge the muffins from the tin. If you try and get them out while they're still warm, the jelly will make them slide around and disintegrate. Pop them in the fridge for a bit if you're extremely pressed for time, then pry them out with a knife when they're cool.

These dense little muffins are probably going to be my breakfast for the next few days. They keep well and taste delicious for as long as it takes to be consumed. One friend told me that these little beauties are even better than the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich--I can't help but agree!

They're really easy, don't take any weird ingredients, and come together rapidly. These muffins are hopefully going to provide me with the energy to get through to spring break!

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