Muffin Monday: National Peanut Butter and Jelly-time
Happy Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! Did you know that it’s estimated the average American child will eat 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating high school? It’s such a childhood staple and yet a fairly recent one in the grand scheme of things. Sliced bread and peanut butter weren’t really available until early 1900 and no mention of PB&J exists before 1940. It seems that most attribute the creation of the sandwich to World War II as a result of food rationing or a creation of cheap, high fat and protein meals for soldiers abroad. A far cry from childhood lunchboxes I think. Still even adults love having one of these occasionally and who can blame them? It’s delicious! I decided to dress up the childhood classic as a Monday Muffin that even a grown up can enjoy without feeling stuck back in a grade school cafeteria.
Since the topic today is things we still love from childhood, can I talk a little bit about Once Upon a Time last night? I know the BIG deal in television last night was the return of Game of Thrones, which was amazing btw, but can I complain a bit about this other show instead?
Just like my muffins, there are a lot of things adults love to revamp and “grow up” from childhood. Why else would a show based on fairy tales like Grimm or Once Upon a Time make it on tv? Unfortunately I feel that Once Upon a Time falls short of its true potential much of the timel. It has some good, even amazing moments, like any scene with Robert Carlyle, but the major storyline feels very cliche and meandering to me lately. It doesn’t help that I’m comparing it to some amazing fairy tale adaptations like Fables.
My major complaint at the moment is the direction the story went last night. I’m not upset by the idea that Regina’s mother tried to force her daughter into a marriage for status. It’s a pretty standard/overplayed story but I can handle that. Some things are classics for a reason. What bothers me is that Regina is played up to be fairly intelligent, highly manipulative and clever—all necessary qualities for a truly sinister, evil queen. Still would a woman that smart have a calm conversation with her mother who just KILLED the man she loved in front of her while plotting to kill the child who was manipulated by the same woman? Come on.
Frankly I’m a little disappointed that this is just about Regina’s true love being murdered and the blame falling quite loosely on Snow. I would have been much happier to see a deeper story in work here, something that helps develop why Regina adopted Henry. I kept thinking that somehow we’d find out Snow was responsible for a miscarriage or the death of Regina’s own child. I couldn’t help thinking this is how I would have changed last night’s episode to make it a bit more interesting AND make Regina’s adoption of Henry make a little more sense.
Regina’s mother kills the love of her life in front of her and Snow, and while Regina is angry Snow revealed her secret, she can see that her mother manipulated the situation. A child can’t be held responsible for being unable to handle her mother’s head games. Regina proceeds with the marriage and spends years learning magic from her mother (obviously what happens next in the show) purely to find a way to get revenge against mommy dearest. Through a decade or so of study Regina discovers that there is a powerful form on blood magic that can let you sacrifice a life to bring back another when the sacrifice is the murderer of the latter individual. It requires the heart of the murderer.
So Regina kills mom, brings back boyfriend etc etc but at this point she’s gotten used to being Queen and doesn’t want to give it up. The years of magic and act of the murder changed her and Regina definitely wants power. Instead of running away with the man she loves, she tries to keep him around and have a secret affair. Regina winds up pregnant and is passing the child off as the King’s. That is until one day when Snow finds Regina and the Stable Boy again.
Only Snow is aware the Stable Boy died and freaks out when she walks in on them. She threatens to tell her father and also questions Regina how she could have brought Stable Boy back from the dead. Regina attacks Snow and the Stable Boy, finally seeing the evil that has blossomed in Regina, is disgusted and tells her he doesn’t love her. She isn’t the woman he originally fell for and walks away. Snow then rushes off to tell her father, leaving an emotionally and magically charged Regina to have a miscarriage and lose the child of the man she loves. The queen gets brought in before Snow has a chance to tell her father the truth, and feeling partially responsible, Snow decides to keep the secret this time to spare Regina further agony but they are by no means on good terms. The Stable Boy makes one last appearance and tells Regina he doesn’t love her and now without their child, there is nothing to bind him to her and that he wants to start his life anew and not to look for him.
This time Regina DOES blame Snow and since she believes Snow to be responsible for the murder of her unborn child, the hunt to get her heart to bring it back from the dead begins…. (This could all take place shortly before the story line with Mr. Glass whom Regina uses to free herself from her husband.)
Of course the attempt to get her heart fails and you can have a whole plot line surrounding Regina discovering that the magic won’t work to revive her unborn child (perhaps because Snow didn’t directly kill her baby) so she has to devise an alternate method of revenge against Snow. This would also tie in nicely to Regina desiring to have a child and perhaps make her adoption of Henry seem a little more human/sympathetic. There could also be an element where part of the curse was that Snow would lose her child to Regina, but that because the closet manage to shield Emma from the curse, it was transferred to HER child which is why Regina wound up with Henry out of any child in the world.
Sorry guys, somehow my recipe for the epic childhood favorite PB&J turned into a fanfic outline. WHOOPS. Anyway here’s my original recipe for some yummy muffins. They aren’t too sweet so if you want more of a sweet/cupcake vibe add extra sugar and some peanut butter baking chips. <3 O
Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffin-time
Recipe from my kitchen
- 2 cups AP Flour
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tbsp peanut oil
- ⅔ cup lightly salted, roughly chopped peanuts
- ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp skippy/jiff peanut butter **note if you want to use a more natural peanut butter to avoid transfats etc you will need to up the sugar in the overall recipe
Topping: Peanut Butter Streusel – this didn’t work as well as I’d hoped but it does add a nice crunch to the top. It just didn’t stick very well, and the muffins had so much volume that it was spread out toward the edges. Totally worth eating all the bits that fell off though.
- 3 Tbsp peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp crushed peanuts
Filling: use your jelly of choice. I went with a classic grape for this recipe but in order to avoid the cloying sweetness you would traditionally get with welch’s grape jelly, I opted for a natural, low sugar variety. My personal favorite jelly/jam to pair with peanut butter is apricot. Seriously, try it sometime, your mind will be BLOWN.
Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare your muffin tin with cups or a light coating of oil.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a mixer add the oil, sugar and honey. Beat for a minute at medium-high. Add the eggs one at a time so you get a pale yellow mixture. Add in the peanut butter and beat on medium-high for another two minutes. At this point you want to alternate the flour mixture with the buttermilk and mix just until all ingredients are incorporated. As with all muffin recipes, over mixing will create a cake like texture rather than muffin. Once these are all blended mix in your peanuts by hand. Alternatively you could use a chunky peanut butter but I prefer to have more control over my batter.
Measure out the batter into your muffin tin. This will make 12 generous muffins when distributed evenly; do not exceed ¾ of the way full for each muffin.
Prepare the streusel by blending all of the ingredients together with a fork and then dropping pieces on top of the batter in your muffin tin. Add a few extra whole peanuts if you want .
Bake at 350 for approximately 18 minutes or until the muffins are cooked through and golden brown. Mine probably went about 2 minutes too long because I was distracted watching TV.
Let the muffins cool fully before adding the jelly. I tried a variety of locations and decided that a top or bottom application of the jelly worked best for distribution. I just put a peanut in the hole left by my bismark tip to ensure no jelly leaked out, though as you can see from a few photos, some muffins were overstuffed and cracked along the top. I think that just added to the delicious appeal personally. EARTHQUAKE MUFFIN NOMS.