PB And J Forever

Happy PB&J day folks.  That’s right, today is a day we celebrate the sandwich that most of us probably loved as children: the deliciousness known as the Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich (or if you prefer, the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich).

My history with this staple has been mixed.  As a child, I clearly loved a PB&J.  What wasn’t there to love?  Peanut butter – good.  Jam – good.  Bread – good.  The combination seemed like a match made in heaven.  Little did I know that my love would eventually turn to hatred.  But I don’t blame PB or J for that.  I blame the need to take a lunch to school.  A lunch that was both painstakingly and lovingly prepared for me by Mom.  The problem was not that the sandwiches were bad – they weren’t.  The problem was the fact that they would sit in my lunch box for hours before lunch finally rolled around.  I remember initially being stoked to have PB&J to eat at lunch.  That is, I’d arrive to school thinking about that damn sandwich and how delicious it would be to sink my teeth into.  When lunch finally would roll around, I would excitedly grab my lunch pail and dive in.  Unfortunately, not having been stored in any sort of refrigerated condition meant the jam wasn’t the same.  It was warm.  Ew.  Worse than that however, was that the oil from the Peanut Butter would have soaked into the nutritionally dubious Wonder Bread, making the bread rather disgusting and the peanut butter dry.  Gah!  It wasn’t long before I asked for other types of sandwiches.

Thankfully, I rediscovered my love of PB&J in my 20s.  I credit this to being a cheap student and needing to eat.  I also credit it with being able to combine whole grain breads with natural (read, no salt and no sugar) PB, and home-made jams.  Mmmm, so freaking good.

Someone really should make this (and send me a piece). It's a Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bottom Cheesecake. Of course, I would require the tofu cheesecake variety what with my stomach not sharing my love of cheesecake.

Of course, I’m not one who believes that PB is destined to forever be with J.  I mean, I do think they make a great pair, but one can’t deny the epic awesomeness that is PB and chocolate, or PB and honey.  The former is something that makes me drool just thinking about it.  The latter is a marriage that occurs in my oatmeal almost every morning (clearly minus the bread).  So freaking tasty.  I guess what I’m getting at is that PB is probably one of the best foods ever invented.  It goes with pretty much anything.

To celebrate PB&J day, I am going to fill my oatmeal with an extra scoop of PB, I’m going to purchase a PB cookie with my Planet Bean latte, and I am going to buy some fresh bread from With The Grain so that I might have an epic PB&J sandwich for lunch, and maybe also one for dinner.  What are you going to do?

Oh, and in honour of April being Mathematics Awareness Month I offer you two things.  First, a PB&J related recipe copied directly from the nerdy website Simple Math Bakery.  Their motto: Simple Ingredients + Simple Math = Simply Delicious.  I couldn’t agree more.  Second, a PB&J building exercise demonstrating the need for order of operations in mathematics (click here for the lesson).

Proof that Math is delicious.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Created by Simple Math Bakery
Yield: 2.5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, and flour. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. If the dough is too soft to shape into balls, place the mixing bowl in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into balls and place onto the cookie sheet. Using a fork dipped in flour, gently press the cookies with an “X marks the spot” pattern.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Perhaps you’d like to remove them just before the edges start to brown, since peanut butter cookies tend to get dry when overbaked. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

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