The epitome of brown bag lunches in my opinion is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, made correctly. By made correctly I mean has a layer of PB on both bread slices so the middle layer of jelly doesn’t seep out and onto the other lunch goodies. It has happened and it can happen again, but I hope it doesn’t- so some poor little kid is saved from soggy jelly ridden bread and gooey lunch accoutrements.
But I’m here to speak about something much more than the standard sandwich and that is Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. Sweet, salty peanut buttery cupcakes with peanutty icing and drizzles of non-seeded strawberry jelly (or grape if you prefer; I know people have a thing about jelly flavors just as they have a type of bread all pb&j’s must have. To each their own).
This is not one of those faux recipes that leaves you wanting the real thing- it leaves you wondering how pb&j got so famous as a sandwich and not as a cupcake.
The only labor intensive parts of this recipe are measuring the peanut butter and de-seeding the strawberry jelly. As for the first issue- I recommend rinsing your measuring cup with warm water and not drying it- go ahead measuring the peanut butter and it will come out easier. Alternately, you can spray the measuring cup with non-stick spray and the peanut butter will give you little resistance coming out. For the jelly- simplest way to de-seed is to put the jelly through a sieve and smash it through with a rubber spatula. Of course, you can always leave the seeds in to avoid this step all together.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy but smooth is recommended
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon good-quality vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon good quality vanilla
- 1/2 cup strawberry jelly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl, set aside.
Using an electic mixer beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until blended. Add egg and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, at low speed beginning and ending with flour mixture, then mix until just combined. Take care to not over mix.
Spoon batter into 12 lined muffin cups (about two-thirds full) and bake 18 to 20 minutes until pale golden and a tester inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Set cupcakes on rack and allow to cool completely.
While cupcakes are baking, process jelly through sieve so seeds are removed. Place jelly into small pastry bag or ziploc bag. Set aside. For the frosting, place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the milk, vanilla and sugar. Add more milk if necessary.
Put frosting into pastry bag with 1M Wilton tip (or use whatever tip you like!). Pipe onto cupcakes. Next take strawberry jelly filled pastry/ziploc bag, snip end with a scissor (or use a small round tip) and make swirl or zig zag patter or whatever pattern you want on top of cupcakes. A lot of kids will want to trade for your PB & J.