There was something special about the way my mom made a PB&J when I was a kid. It was always the same creamy peanut butter & store brand jelly (I begged for strawberry but my dad liked grape) between two slices of tiny "wheat" bread. Always in those little fold over plastic sandwich bags (no Ziploc nonsense here), and always a little squished by the time I got to it at lunch time. But it was perfect, even if the purple from the jelly was showing through the bread, and it was flattened by some kid accidentally sitting on my brown paper bag.
I don't really remember the last time I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, since it seems that with adulthood came weird artisan interests in fancy sandwiches, and a pretty strong commitment to my once aversion of vegetables. So for National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, I thought it would be fun to revisit the old favorite, only this time put my own twist on it. (No offense, Mom-- your food still always tastes way better than mine.)
The first sandwich I made was a a grilled PB&J with bacon. I used freshly ground peanut butter, organic strawberry jam, and antibiotic free bacon grilled on the stove with Miners sourdough bread. After making this sandwich I would suggest you to be a little generous with the ingredients, I was kinda skimpy for fear of it all spilling out after being grilled, and the sandwich suffered. Obviously you can make this recipe kosher by using turkey bacon, and even vegetarian/vegan with meat free bacon options.
The second sandwich, and my personal favorite, was a sweet apricot cashew croissant. I filled a warm croissant with freshly ground cashew butter drizzled in local wildflower honey, and organic apricot jam* topped with sliced bananas. Aside from the warm croissant being so soft it made it difficult to spread the cashew butter, this sandwich turned out perfect. I thought it may end up too sweet but it was AWESOME. I honestly didn't expect to like it as much as I did.
The third and final sandwich I made for today was a toasted almond blackberry bagel. To be completely honest, I had envisioned this to be on a multi grain bagel, however I was unable to find one the day I went shopping so I was stuck with a plain one. I lightly toasted the bagel and topped one side with freshly ground almond butter and then chopped almonds, giving it a sort of "chunky" taste. For the other side I made my own blackberry spread, which is so damn easy I could not believe it. All you have to do is take fresh blackberries and through them in a food processor (I use one of those cute little Ninjas). Seriously, that's it! I spread this on the bagel and sprinkled a little coconut sugar on top to add a hint of sweetness.
I tested these sandwiches on my mom and sisters and I have to say, my mom was pretty insistent that they were delicious. So, I guess the PB&J love has gone full circle.
Side note: If you're like me and hate buying an ingredient for ONE recipe, check out my upcoming Passover recipe for Apricot Pecan Chicken, which I used the same apricot jam I used on this sandwich.