As peaches and plums were slowly (but surely) replaced by autumn fruits at my local farmer’s market, I was reminded of concord grapes. Since they are relatively short-lived around here, I forget to expect them the way I do apples and pears. But when I remember, I buy them as frequently as possible. I know it’ll be a long time before they’re back.
Every year I say that I’m going to do something “special” with concord grapes, but we just end up eating them. It feels impossible not to pop one slippery grape after another into your mouth until they are all gone. The mouthfeel, the explosion of flavor—it’s all just too fun and addictive! But this year, I was strong. I protected the grapes until I had time to, finally, make something special. Aren’t you happy I did?! These Peanut Butter and “Jelly” Muffins are as deeply satisfying as the classic sandwich and, filled with bursted, juicy grapes, are just as fun as eating concords on their own. They are more comforting, too, fitting for cooler fall days.
Here’s the rub: concord grapes have seeds. To do these muffins right, you have to halve them with a paring knife and remove the seeds. Not the most fun. Not the quickest task, either. But I promise it’ll go faster than you think and is worth it. I mean, you’re turning a perfect sandwich into a perfect, fluffy, muffiny snack. How could it not be?!
There is one sneaky way around this pesky seeding step, but it may not be available to all. There is a relatively new variety of grape called the thomcord. They taste almost exactly like concords but—you guessed it—are seedless! I spied some thomcords at my Trader Joe’s, of all places. Check with them, your local grocer or natural market before you make these.
I’m the queen of mini-muffins, but baked these full size because I wanted them to be jam packed with grapes. You can go mini if you want, though; they’ll still be delicious, just keep in mind that your baking time will be shorter. Either way, these freeze well and make a great lunchbox snack.
Peanut Butter & “Jelly” Muffins
makes a dozen full-size muffins
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter (1 stick), melted and slightly cooled, plus more for greasing
1 c whole milk
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
2 c concord (or thomcord) grapes, pitted if necessary
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin with butter or line with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Add butter and mix until you have a crumbly, sandy texture. I start mixing with a wooden spoon and finish with my hands so that the crumbs are relatively fine.
3. Add milk and eggs, mix thoroughly. Add sugar and stir to combine. When everything is just mixed and your batter comes together, fold in the peanut butter. Stir to combine well (but be careful not to over mix). Lastly, fold in grapes.
4. Fill muffin cups almost to the top and bake for about 25 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.