The ultimate peanut butter and jelly sandwich:
tweaking an American classic
tweaking an American classic
“A peanut butter sandwich is as delicious as the magnitude of your hunger,” a friend said to me, and I replied, “You don’t have to be starving to love this one. I have the recipe for the most fabulous P&J sandwich ever and I put it in my book, Gift for my Sister!”
If I’m going to consume that much fat and calories, I’m going to make sure it’s fabulous!
Marnie, my character from The Christmas Cookie Club, is a fabulous baker: her two daughters, Tara and Sky, also love to cook. This is the P&J sandwich that Tara quickly puts together during a stressful time for her family, making a treat for Marnie, Sky, little Levy and Rachel, and herself.
Tara’s super-easy honey-roasted peanut butter
Tara loved honey-roasted peanut butter and, when the market where she bought it went out of business, she decided to try making it. It was simpler than she ever imagined. Tara bought a plastic bag of honey-roasted peanuts, opened it and threw most of the contents into the bowl of her food processor. She kept a few peanuts back because she wanted it chunky. Then she pushed the ‘on’ button and watched the peanuts whirl.
At first it didn’t look like it was going to actually make peanut butter, just paste. Tara stopped the machine, pushed the paste down into the bowl with a rubber spatula, threw in the whole nuts and turned the machine on again. And, ignored it for a few minutes.
Then, voilà, peanut butter! Tara tasted it and let Levy lick some from her finger, and both of their eyes widened with glee.
So, it was easy for Tara to get some honey-roasted peanuts from one of the Mom & Pop stores on the Venice boardwalk, and make some peanut butter before wrapping up Sky’s cuisinart.
Marnie’s Best Ever Raspberry Jam
On a warm Fall day, when the leaves surrounding the fields were shifting from that almost black August green to October’s scarlet and yellow, Marnie would take her daughters to pick raspberries. The berries fell easily into green fibre containers, though almost as many ended up in the girls’ mouths as in the baskets. In recent years, Marnie often bought the berries at the farmers' market and spent the rest of the Saturday afternoon making jam.
One year she made three batches; regular, low sugar and almond flavoured. The almond one was pronounced the best ever!
Here’s how she did it:
Marnie followed the recipe on the pectin she bought, which was Ball or Certo. She started with 2½ pounds or about six 6oz containers of berries, and crushed them lightly. She put the berries into a large saucepan and added six ½ cups of sugar, a ½ teaspoon of butter or margarine, and, stirring frequently, brought it to the boil so that it couldn’t be stirred down. Then she added the pectin and kept it boiling for another minute, stirring constantly.
She removed the jam from the heat and skimmed the foam. Then she added Torani almond (Orgeat) syrup, starting with a tablespoonful. She stirred it in, taking a taste after blowing to cool it. Marnie wanted a stronger almond taste, so she added more, taking a taste after each teaspoon.
When it was perfect, she ladled the jam into her sterilised, hot canning jars, wiping the rims and threads. Sometimes she omitted the syrup and topped off each jar with a tablespoon of Amaretto liquor. Afterwards, she put on the lids and tightened the rings.
Marnie placed the jars into a canner, already half-full of boiling water. When all of the jars were inside, she added a bit more boiling water to cover them by an inch. She put a lid on the pot, brought the water back to a gentle boil and let it process.
After about ten minutes, she removed the jam jars and set them on her counter. A beam of light hit them, turning them into red jewels. A few minutes later, she heard the reassuring pop of the jars sealing.
She gave her jam to her daughters and friends. And, of course, ate lots herself.
While Marnie, Sky, and Tara were packing Sky’s condo, it was easy to spread some bread with the jam and peanut butter to make a great P&J sandwich.
I have to give credit to my daughter who taught me how to make the honey-roasted peanut butter, whereas I invented the raspberry jam.
Thank you to Ann Pearlman for her guest post. Now I feel like a hungry hippo!
If you are interested in writing a guest post that is YA-friendly, please get in touch.