Some things never change — like our love of that classic peanut butter and jelly pairing. It just works. You know what else works? Nutty, sweet PB&J housed within structures other than sliced bread. Why limit this couple's scope? These guys are going places.
Originally a vegetarian health food, many credit John Harvey Kellogg for inventing peanut butter, or at least being the first to call ground peanuts "butter" in the late 1890s, according to Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea by Andrew F. Smith. He stuck to peanuts rather than other nuts because it's the cheapest nut (and not a tree nut, but rather a legume that grows underground). Quickly becoming an American fad food, peanut butter was used as a substitute for cream and regular butter, in soups, cereals, sandwiches, drinks, and dressing on vegetables. Americans loved to slather it on sandwiches filled with beef, ham, boned fish, and tongue, mustard, and ketchup. Eek.
But peanut butter sandwich recipes didn't burst onto the culinary scene in a big way until 1896, when Good Housekeeping magazine urged homemakers to grind peanuts in a meat grinder and spread it on bread. Peanut butter met jelly in a 1901 article by Julia Davis Chandler, and it became a hit with America's youth, remaining a favorite ever since.
Check out all our recipes that use peanut butter if you're nuts about the creamy legume on its own. Or get ideas when you're hankering for sandwiches of all kinds. But remember, it's always peanut butter jelly time (cue the dancing banana), no matter how old you are.
1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Our favorite two fillings are a natural fit within the chewy bar cookie construct, in which rolled oats are mixed with chunky peanut butter, sandwiching a thick layer of strawberry jam. So technically, it's jam, not jelly. Get our Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars recipe.
2. Peanut Butter and Jelly Fritters
Can you imagine these fluffy fried nugs of nutty sweetness in your brunch repertoire? Inventive. And making this doughnut alternative is not too hard, especially with pre-made pizza dough. Get our Peanut Butter and Jelly Fritters recipe.
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Steel Cut Oatmeal
This twist on the classic is just a bit zany, but still comforting, filling, delicious and filling — a lot for a simple breakfast dish. The Cookie Rookie's concoction is not your usual oatmeal. Get the recipe.
4. Grape Jelly
If you can get your hands on some Concord grapes, you gotta make your own grape jelly. Those grapes are so much more … grape-y … than other purple grapes. The flavor jumps out and hugs you with grape goodness. It'll need two days to solidify into a jelly consistency. Can this jelly or just keep it in the fridge for not much longer than a month. Get our Grape Jelly recipe.
5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
Peanut butter batter makes the muffins, and then strawberry preserve swirls with the crunchy streusel topping for this exciting remake of the sandwich pairing by Erica's Sweet Tooth. There's also Greek yogurt in the batter of these muffins, made for picnics, breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Get the recipe.
6. Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
OK, yes, this is still a sandwich. But the white-bread slices are slathered in butter and slapped onto a griddle, grilled-cheese style. This simple technique can totally change your PB&J game. Get our Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich recipe.
7. Fragrant Blueberry Jam
Grab a pound of fresh blueberries and your canning equipment to make some jam with natural pectin of an apple. Smooth, luxurious jam in its deep sapphire hue will be better than any supermarket find, you can bet on that. Get our Fragrant Blueberry Jam recipe.
8. Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies
More interesting than the typical thumbprint peanut butter cookie with jelly spooned on top, this cookie takes it to another level. Raspberry preserves are a more sophisticated cousin to standard strawberry jelly, says Hope Hering Woodhouse of Pass the Cookies. They're soft, chewy and a bit gooey where the cookie meats the preserves. Get the recipe.
9. Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake
Hey Modest Marce makes the pairing look perfectly posh in this cake recipe that would be fancy enough for an anniversary party. In fact, it's the chosen recipe for this blogger's one-year anniversary of blogging. The frosting is a traditional vanilla buttercream, deepened with smooth, creamy peanut butter. Use the jelly or jam of your choice to spread between the layers. Get the recipe.
— Head Photo: Hey Modest Marce.
Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.