According to the National Peanut Board, the average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he or she graduates from high school. That is a lot of PB&J! I’ve wondered before about this number and have come to the conclusion that it is the result of two things. First, PB&J sandwiches are easy to make, thus making them a go-to item for parents to make when assembling their child’s school lunches (or when a child is assembling their own lunch). Second, they’re just plain good! Even now as an adult, a bite of good ‘ol PB&J takes me back to happy childhood memories. As I thought about what to pack in my 4-year old’s lunch on Valentine’s Day, my thoughts turned to PB&J—it’s hard to beat comfort foods when it comes to sending a message of love with food.
I decided to give PB&J a makeover by using an Asian twist. Instead of PB&J sandwiched between two slices of bread, I made steamed buns filled with PB&J.
This might sound complicated, but you will be surprised by how easy they are to make! Granted, they take a bit more time to make than a regular peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but they’re just as easy, and well worth the bit of extra time. The dough for these buns is whipped up in a bread machine . . . nothing hard so far, right? (If you want an AWESOME bread machine, I love my bread machine from Zojirushi!)
Then you divide the dough into pieces . . . still with me?
Then take a piece of dough, roll it into a ball, flatten it into a pancake with your hands, then use a rolling pin to finish rolling it out into a larger pancake. Then you put a spoonful of chunky peanut butter (or creamy if you prefer!) and a spoonful of jelly in the middle of the dough. I’d better not hear any complaining from you here, even a 3 year old could do that part!!
Then you gather the dough up and around the peanut butter and jelly, and twist it and pinch it together until it is sealed up nice and tight.
Then you steam the buns for 15 minutes and they’re done! See? Easy as pie!
The buns can be eaten immediately, or can be saved for later. You can reheat them briefly in the steamer or in a microwave. Just make sure that you remove the cupcake liners before reheating the buns if you do use the microwave! The buns are also fantastic eaten at room temperature, making them a perfect addition to a packed school lunch.
My husband emailed me from work this morning saying that he had grabbed one for a breakfast on the go. He wasn’t around when I made them yesterday, so I was curious to know what he thought. I wasn’t surprised when he told me that he thought they were “so good.” These buns combine the delicious fruit nutty comfort of a good PB&J sandwich, with the added benefit of moist, soft, slightly chewy bread. This is a PB&J that even an adult wouldn’t mind taking to work for lunch. The perfect way to send a bit of “I Love You” with a loved one on Valentine’s Day!
Steamed Peanut Butter and Jelly Buns
Makes 12 buns
Recipe Notes: For smaller buns, simply divide the dough into 24 pieces, and use approximately 1/2 tablespoon each of peanut butter and jelly.
For the bun dough:
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
For the filling:
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup jelly flavor of choice
1. Place the bun dough ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order listed. When adding the yeast, make a well in the center of the sugar and flour mixture and put the yeast in the well. Select the dough cycle and press Start.
2. After the dough has finished the dough cycle, preheat a steamer filled with water on high heat.
3. While the steamer is heating, remove the dough from the bread machine and place it on lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape a piece of dough into a ball, then flatten it between your hands. Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a larger circle that is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Place 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of jelly in the center of the dough, then bring the dough up around the filling, pinching and twisting the dough closed firmly around it. Place the bun in a foil cupcake liner. You can place the bun pinched side up, or rounded side up, depending on your own preferences for appearance. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
4. When the buns are assembled and the steamer is steaming, place the buns in the steamer and cover. Steam for 15 minutes on high heat. Remove from the heat and serve.
* To save and serve the buns later: Let the steamed buns cool for about 10 minutes, then seal them in an airtight container. When ready to serve, either reheat them briefly in a steamer or microwave (remove the cupcake liners before microwaving), or serve them at room temperature.