Hello, my name is Jonathan and I’m a peanut butter fan. I think my Dad started it or maybe it just grew organically, but I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid or sometimes just peanut butter with no jelly.
My Dad used to come in on Saturday or Sunday afternoons after working in the yard or garden and he would ask, “want a peanut butter cracker?” I’m pretty sure that’s what he said, I could be mistaken (it was 30+ years ago), but he asked it like I might want only ONE peanut butter cracker. What he really was asking was if I wanted a few. When I (always) said yes, he would take about twenty Ritz crackers and spread – just the right amount – of peanut butter between them and we’d split five sandwiched crackers a piece.
This week I baked a loaf of bread and made a bunch of peanut butter and jam based sandwiches. I made a batch of honey roasted peanut butter, cashew butter, refrigerator strawberry jam and bacon jam. Keep reading to see what I did and find the recipes I used.
The bread I chose was King Arthur Baking’s Pain de Mie recipe. It does require a special 13 inch Pullman Loaf pan (I own this one – this is an Amazon affiliate link) with a lid to bake it and make it this shape, but if you eat a lot of BLT’s or PB&J’s or grilled cheeses, you will get use out of this pan.
I like this shape of bread for sandwiches and I like baking it myself because I have full control on the thickness of my slices. The bread recipe comes out a slight bit cake-like in my experience so I really feel like it needs some toasting. I ate one PB&J untoasted just to get the right sample set, but it really is better toasted. For most of these sandwiches I simply heated up a skillet over medium heat, spread butter on one side of each piece of bread and lightly toasted. I then removed the toast from the heat and built the sandwich on a plate or cutting board. You could do this and griddle the sandwich the ingredients already between the bread, but that seems like you’d be risking all the insides heating up and sliding out.
Honey roasted peanut butter
I used store bought honey roasted peanuts for this nut butter, but you can use this same recipe for other nuts too. I also made a batch of cashew butter using the same steps with store bought salted cashews and it turned out great. I used it in some of the sandwiches mentioned here. If you want your nut butter to be chunky, you can hold back a few of your nuts from the food processor, chop them up roughly with a knife and stir them in to the pureed butter to turn it crunchy.
Strawberry refrigerator jam
This is the easiest jam or preserves that you can make. Just a little chopping and some time in a pot and you’ve got something really tasty that you can put on toast or a sandwich. I haven’t tried this with other fruits, but I’m guessing it will work. I will give it a shot in the future, keep an eye on this space.
I’ve shared this recipe before. It’s a good one. Keep it in your back pocket for your next burger night too. A mixture of savory and sweet, this is good stuff. Savory and sweet bacon jam, plus peanut butter makes for a really fun sandwich combination. The texture in the jam also helps to change things up a little.
Now to the business: the sandwiches
Ode to Hopleaf
I also attempted to recreate one of the best sandwiches in all of Chicago. The Hopleaf Bar in the Andersonville neighborhood has a sandwich on their menu called the CB&J. Here’s the sandwich in google image search to see what we’re working with. Their menu says it’s “housemade cashew butter, fig jam and raclette cheese; pan-fried.” Hopleaf’s is on sourdough, so I certainly didn’t get the bread right, but I had fig preserves in the fridge and bought some cheese. Raclette melts very easily, but I wanted to make sure it was melty so I sliced it, placed the slices on the peanut butter side and placed it under the broiler for a couple minutes just to give it a head start. Then I griddled it in butter over medium heat for about 3 or 4 minutes per side. I was left with this beautiful sandwich that was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had all year!
That’s all for the peanut butter and jam sandwiches. I’ll be back next week and maybe I’ll write about biscuit sandwiches and maybe I’ll write about burgers. No one really knows at this point. Stay tuned.