When I heard that the humble yet beloved union of peanut butter and jelly had earned its own national holiday, April 2, I said, heck yeah, let’s celebrate! What better marriage has there ever been? (Alright, settle down chocolate, we get it. Rumor has it I Love Reese’s Day is May 18.)
But today we’re talkin’ PB&J. Come on. The stuff I grew up on. No avocado toast or snackable lunches for my generation. It was ol’ faithful: sugar and salt on white bread (more sugar). That’s how we kids of the 60s and 70s rolled. Fast forward 40+ years and everyone still loves their PB&J and, as I’ve come to find out, in some new and very creative ways.
Let’s start with the most unexpected, shall we? The Old Causeway‘s PB&J burger with sriracha and bacon. It’s a house favorite at the Manahawkin spot and the creation of Chef Ken Piacentino.
If a PB&J burger isn’t your thing, how about this beauty from Glaze Donuts, in New Milford and Wayne? It’s a yeast bismarck doughnut filled with jelly, and topped with peanut butter and then a dollop of jelly. (Jelly is typically black raspberry, but they can customize and offer variations occasionally.)
Looking for something a little more healthy? If you’re in the Fair Haven or Red Bank area, give Freshica’s Juice Bar‘s PB&J Shake made with blueberries, strawberries, banana, almond milk, protein powder and peanut butter a try. Or, how about a PB&J Bowl made with peanut butter, apple juice, banana, acai or pitaya and topped with fresh banana, granola, and peanut butter.
And then there’s the sophisticated, distant cousin of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, craftily conjured up by John Sauchelli, executive pastry chef at Maritime Parc in Jersey City: peanut butter semifreddo, Concord grape gelee and pearls, Moscato foam, caramel, and toasted brioche slices to complete this dish. Oh my!
If you’re in the mood for a dessert that will bring out the kid in you, how about a PB&J cupcake from Sickles Market in Little Silver? Vanilla cupcakes are stuffed with jelly, then topped with peanut butter icing and yet another dollop of jelly.
Sent directly to Sickles Market from Macaron Cafe, NYC, the less-messy-but-just-as-delicious PB&J macarons are also worth a try.
Since we’re in dessert mode, here’s one for the chocolate fans: peanut butter and jelly mousse domes. Here we have peanut butter mousse with a raspberry compote center and a devil’s food cake base, glazed with a raspberry chocolate ganache. This gem is from The Vintage Cake in Atlantic Highlands.
In April, Callahan’s, in Norwood, launches CallaSWEET Bites, a series of house-made desserts. First up will be the PB and Be Jelly Bite: crushed, batter-dipped Reese’s peanut butter cups deep fried and drizzled with—wait for it—peanut butter and jelly. Paired with milk, of course!
And hey, at the end of the day, if you’re not into the sweet thing well we’ve got an oh-so-grownup PB&J option right here: the PB Jammer from Morris Tap & Grill in Randolph. You can even make one at home! Just mix 1 oz peanut butter vodka, ½ oz Frangelico, ¾ oz Fragola strawberry liqueur, ¼ oz Chambord, and a squeeze of lemon juice.