4 ways to upgrade your PB&J

The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a cornerstone of sack lunches that is always comforting whether you’re a child or adult. This sandwich benefits from being easy to make, portable and filling, making it the perfect bite for a morning hike, impromptu lunch break or post-workout fuel. Of course, if you’re an aspiring chef, there are numerous ways to make this traditional snack a bit more sophisticated. Here are four ideas for taking your PB&J from the standard three-ingredient sandwich to a top-notch culinary delight:

1. Cook it
Buzzfeed notes that there are several ways you can cook your peanut butter and jelly to add texture and flavor. Whether you simply want to grill the sandwich to toast the bread, creating a contrast of crunchy and gooey textures or deep fry it for a crispy battered exterior, you can really take your sandwich up a notch by warming it up. For a breakfast version, try using French toast or waffles in place of plain bread.

2. Go for fresh ingredients
For a truly fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you should learn how to bake bread and how to make homemade jam or preserves. Simply put, fresh ingredients always make a meal better. By baking your own bread, finding locally sourced fruit to jar homemade jelly and even making your own peanut butter, your PB&J will go from good to great.

3. Add some meat
Meat such as ham or bacon can add a savory element to your otherwise sweet sandwich, and also provide some additional texture. Depending on your preference, consider frying your bacon until it’s extra crispy so you get some crunch in the middle. For a more avant-garde approach, The Huffington Post recommends adding peanut butter and jelly to a hamburger.

4. Go beyond sandwiches
If you really want to step out of the box, forget about the sandwich presentation altogether. Get creative with your peanut butter and jelly by keeping the two essential ingredients, but sub out the bread slices for crackers, tortillas or another edible apparatus. Take for example Heather Christo’s recipe for peanut butter and jelly doughnuts. These treats have excellent presentation and stray away from the traditional idea of a PB&J. For another dessert option, try concocting peanut butter and jelly cookies or sweet crepes.

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