Your kids are going to love these sugar-crusted PB&J's. Of course. But the big folks will love them too--any time the sweeet tooth attacks.
First, they're grilled. See it's all gooey and melty. It's warm. See the melted peanut butter drooling down the side. Like a grilled, melty cheese sandwich is better, so is a grilled PB&J.
Second, it's the crunchy sugary coating on both sides. That's the real killer. That's a cinnamon sugar coating melted into the sandwich on both sides. Look closely. See that the melted sugar buttery slurry has penetrated maybe a quarter inch.
When you take the sandwich from the pan, it cools and that layer gets crunchy-gooey. It's a neat experience. Now you're talking. You're kids are going to go crazy over these. And it's not hard. We’ll tell you how.
How to Make Fabulous Sugar-Crusted PB&J’s
You can use any bread mixes. These were made with a sourdough bread mix for bread machine. You don't have to use sourdough bread mix. But it's nice to have a sturdier bread when you're spreading peanut butter, jam, and cinnamon sugar butter. But whatever.
First, the cinnamon sugar butter. That’s the magic elixir that makes the crunchy cinnamon sugar-coating top and bottom. Here’s how:
- 1/2 cup butter (one stick), softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon good quality cinnamon
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together. Whip the butter to soften it, if necessary. Add the cinnamon sugar mixture. Whip again until blended and soft enough to easily spread.
If you ever get tired of cinnamon sugar—and you probably won’t—change it up with maple cinnamon sugar or apple cinnamon sugar.
Baker’s notes: This is really quick and easy to make. The trick is to get the butter soft so that you can easily spread it on the bread. We first made it with one tablespoon, not one teaspoon, of cinnamon. We liked the flavor but that the lighter color with less cinnamon turned a rich golden color and was more attractive.
The Simple Sandwich: You’re going to make this just like a grilled cheese sandwich except you’re spreading the cinnamon sugar butter on the outside instead of butter alone. The sugar melts on the griddle creating the sweet crust. The peanut butter melts on the griddle and drools down the side—very cool.
- Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and jam on another. Put the two slices together with the jam on the bottom making a PB&J.
- Spread cinnamon sugar butter on the outsides, both sides. Repeat for additional sandwiches.
- Place sandwiches on a preheated griddle or skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, until golden brown, and then turn it and cook the other side. The peanut butter sandwich should be melty and gooey. Scoot the sandwich around to sop up any melted sugar slurry.
If you’re using soft, fluffy bread that is easy to maul and mangle, do yourself a favor and melt the peanut butter, and maybe the jam in the microwave making it easier to spread. Warm peanut butter is easier to get melty on the griddle.
If you want to stick with sourdough bread mixes, consider these:
- San Francisco Sourdough Bread Machine Mix
This is the classic. It has a deep sourdough flavor that pulls right through the peanut butter and jam. The chewy, heavier crust makes the bread sturdier for spreading.
- Italian Country Bread Machine Mix
This a lighter bread machine mix with just a touch of sourdough. The crust isn't as sturdy as the San Francisco bread machine mix, but it makes a fine sandwich.
- Alaska Sourdough Bread Machine Mix
This just tastes different than the San Francisco Sourdough but it is very, very good. The crust is not as heavy.
More Fun Things to Do with a PB&J
Several weeks ago, we experimented with various crunchy sandwiches made with chips—including peanut butter sandwiches. We served them at lunch to employees. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips stuck between the slices were very popular. You can use corn chips, potato chips, flavored potato chips, or shoestring potato chips. Other ideas:
- Make your sandwich into French toast. Soak it in your egg wash. Turn the heat down so that it has time to soak through the thickness of the sandwich. Serve it hot, drizzle with your favorite syrup.
- Add a layer of thick caramel ice cream topping between the peanut butter and jam. (Now it’s almost like a candy bar. You could add a layer of thick chocolate and/or marshmallow cream—and make it really gooey.)
- Mix warm honey into your peanut butter.
- Add sliced bananas.
- Add a layer of toasted coconut.
- Add a layer of chopped salted snack peanuts