baked occasionally october – peanut butter and jelly muffins


It’s no secret that Shannon and I are big fans of peanut butter and jelly.

Shannon’s pbj ice cream, and my pbj birthday cake, we can hardly get enough of the stuff. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t consume at least one of my favorite pbj sandwiches (Jif Natural, creamy of course, with Favorit raspberry jam, and maybe a couple fruit slices or potato chips stuffed in for crunch). It’s impossible to resist.

So, it should surprise no one that Shannon’s choice for October’s Baked Occasionally series was the Peanut Butter & Jelly muffins from Baked Occasions.

You will have some batter (and streusel) left over, don’t try to stuff it into the muffin tins (or, read that line after you’ve been stuffing, whatever). If you use the fancy leaf muffin liners, you can use more batter and streusel than normal because they are taller and will hold more. This, however, will also add a few minutes to your baking time.

Tender, slightly sweet peanut butter muffins, filled with just a bit of sweet, sticky jam and topped with crunchy peanut streusel. There’s really not a single thing wrong with these.


What I liked:

  • Easy to make – Despite being a filled and topped treat, these muffins were pretty easy to make, actually. I used a large scoop for the batter and a small scoop for the filling and it seemed to work out perfectly!
  • Not too sweet – The flavor melds perfectly with sweet filling paired with a peanut-buttery muffin and topped with sweet, crunchy streusel. The muffin itself isn’t too sweet, which is good because it helps to keep this recipe nice and balanced without being tooth-achingly sweet.

What I didn’t like:

  • The filling – Of course you need jelly for it to be “PB&J” and I didn’t really “dislike” the jelly, I just wasn’t sure how much it added to these guys. It felt like, if anything, it didn’t add enough jelly flavor for it to be worth the effort. I remember thinking that someone should invent “jelly chips” (like chocolate chips, but filled with jelly and without any chocolate!) and they would be great here because you could evenly dispense the jelly flavor. ANYWAY – If you weren’t up to the effort of dropping tiny spoonfulls of jelly into your muffin cups, you could definitely just serve it on the side, with the added bonus of everyone being able to choose their own jelly flavor!
  • One more super tiny note – Again, more of a ‘note’ than a “dislike” really. A couple of my peanuts burned while baking, so you could either tent the muffins with foil for the last five minutes or so of baking, or you can just leave out the peanuts, either way will work just fine.

The Verdict:

  • All in all? These are a winner! Bake some up for your next brunch or take them to work (your co-workers will thank you, trust me).

As always, my PIC (that’s “partner in crime”) Shannon has her own beautiful post right here where she shares her thoughts on the recipe, but with much prettier pictures. :)


peanut butter & jelly muffins


    For the Crumb Topping
  • ½ cup (75 g) salted, roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1?3 cup (75 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • For the Muffin Batter
  • 1¾ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (115 g) sour cream (not low-fat), room temperature
  • ½ cup (130 g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1?3 cup (75 ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1?3 to ½ cup jelly of choice


    For the crumb topping
  1. Finely chop peanuts and put in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
  3. Pour melted butter over the mixture and fold the ingredients together until the mixture is crumb-like. If you press some together inside your fist, it should form a solid piece. Set aside.
  4. For the muffins
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Alternatively, you can line the muffin tin with liners.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until well combined. Be sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg, and vanilla.
  8. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.
  9. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  10. Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Use the back of a clean, lightly oiled spoon (or silicone spoon) to flatten the batter and make a slight indentation into the center.
  11. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of jelly onto the muffin batter in each cup, being careful to keep it in the center of the cup.
  12. Top the jelly with another 2 tablespoons of muffin batter to cover the jelly completely, using the back of a spoon to gently spread the batter into an even layer. It's best to start on the outside of the muffin cup so that you don't spread the jelly towards the outside. The muffin cups should be not quite full.
  13. Note: You might end up with excess batter. Do not try to force it into the cups; simply make one or two extra muffins.
  14. Cover the surface of each muffin cup with a small handful of crumbs, pressing the mixture ever so gently so that it adheres to the top. If you use the pretty muffin liners , you can probably fit a very generous amount of streusel onto the top of the muffin, but will likely have some left over.
  15. Bake muffins, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the crumb topping turns a golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
  16. Baking the muffins:
  17. If a toothpick inserted into a muffin near the edge (avoiding the jelly center) should come out clean (disregarding any topping or jelly that might stick), bake them for a minute more—these muffins might sink in the middle if not baked all the way.
  18. Let the muffins cool almost completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
  19. If you used the aforementioned liners, removal is easy peasy. Otherwise, angle the muffin tin slightly and use a small offset spatula or a butter knife to coax the muffins out of their tins. Place muffins on the cooling rack until completely cool.
  20. These can be stored in an airtight container for 1 day, or wrapped in saran and stored in the freezer for up to a month.


- You will have extra batter and streusel topping from this. You can make an extra muffin or two, if you like and save some of the streusel, refrigerated, for another use.

- If you don't feel like filling your muffins, I think jelly would be just as good if not better served alongside these muffins, rather than filled.

- If you notice your topping browning a bit too quickly, tent the muffins with foil for the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.

Bake along – Get the book here!

Check out Shannon’s post here.

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Baked Occasionally September – Orange Pancakes with Honey Butter

DSC_1636 Orange Pancake

Can you believe it’s already September? I can’t. While most of you are probably BBQ-ing and hanging by the pool, let me take a minute to talk about the last thing on your mind … pancakes!

My first thought was “Orange pancakes?” I mean, lemon, sure. Banana, of course. But orange? Never really thought about it, I guess. Shannon and I resolved not to tinker and forged ahead with the recipe.

So, when I gathered it all together to get started, I didn’t really know what to expect. Well, one sore arm and a lot of pancakes later, I can say I was a bit underwhelmed, to be honest. The original recipe yielded a batter that was much too thick to use for pancakes, not even remotely pourable and too thick to even spread.

I did, however, attempt to cook them anyway and ended up with a dense, dry pancake that was less than appetizing.

pancakes thick

Gross, right? No thank you.

So, I added some extra buttermilk and orange juice to thin out the batter and make it more pourable, and then we were on our way! The pancakes (once corrected) had a great texture, light and fluffy and perfectly tender! However, they didn’t have much flavor, especially considering the copious amounts of orange juice and zest I knew were in the batter.

orange pancake gif

Topped with honey butter and maple syrup, however, the notes were somewhat floral with a hint of orange, but not nearly the ‘slap you in the face’ flavor I expected. Though I wouldn’t eat them on their own, once I topped them with syrup and butter it was hard to stop eating them.

DSC_1674 2

What I liked:

  • The texture, once corrected, was great! I love fluffy pancakes and these babies fit the bill just right!
  • Honey butter perfectly complemented the pancakes and, along with the maple syrup, brought out the orange notes.

What I didn’t:

  • The original recipe didn’t have nearly enough liquid in the batter, so I had to add extra orange juice and buttermilk to thin out the batter. I have not seen other complaints about this, though, so maybe I just had some weird blond moment…
  • Despite ALL of the orange zest and juice in this recipe, the orange flavor wasn’t as strong as I expected. I expected a brighter flavor, although maybe it was muted by additional buttermilk.

DSC_1655 orange pancake

orange pancakes with honey butter


    For the Honey Butter
  • 8 ounces (225 g) unsalted European-style (cultured) butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons clover honey
  • For the Orange Pancakes
  • 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup (230 g) plain full-fat Greek yogurt, strained
  • ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange zest (from 2 oranges)
  • For making and serving the pancakes
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Maple syrup, preferably warmed
  • Honey butter (recipe above)


    Make the Honey Butter
  1. If your butter is very soft, you can just place it in a bowl with the honey and stir with a spatula until completely combined. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside or place in refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Hint: also great on dinner rolls, corn bread, toast, or anything else you might butter).
  2. If the butter is still somewhat firm, cut into cubes and place into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter and honey on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Scrape the honey butter into a ramekin to use immediately with the pancakes.
  3. Make the Orange Pancakes
  4. If you want to make a lot of pancakes and keep them warm, preheat the oven to 200°F (90°C). Otherwise, you can skip this step.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, yogurt, buttermilk, 4 ounces (115 g) of the butter, the eggs, sugar, and orange zest.
  7. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the well, stirring just until combined.
  8. If the batter is too thick, add additional orange juice until slightly thinned and pourable.
  9. Cook the pancakes
  10. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat until water splashed on it bubbles and dances, but doesn't immediately evaporate.
  11. Brush the pan with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and pour 1?3 cup batter to the pan per pancake (you can use more or less, depending on what size of pancake you are looking for).
  12. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on the tops and the bottoms are browned.
  13. Flip and continue cooking them until they are completely browned on both sides, another minute or so.
  14. You don't have to butter each time, but you can if you like (I don't). Otherwise, continue buttering the pan and making pancakes until all the batter is used, transferring cooked pancakes to the oven to keep warm, if desired.
  15. Serve immediately as the pancakes are made, or keep them in the oven on a baking pan or heatproof plate just until you’ve cooked them all (don’t leave them in the oven longer).
  16. Serve with maple syrup and honey butter.


* The liquid as stated in this recipe was not enough for my batter, feel free to add extra liquid, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the batter becomes pourable. Be careful not to over-mix.

* I felt they could also use a bit more orange zest, but maybe my oranges just weren't super orange-y. Feel free to cook a mini 'test' pancake and see how the flavor is before continuing.

[ Get the book HERE ]

[ Check out Shannon’s post HERE ]

thursday things


DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE – after a lifetime of eating Jif peanut butter they finally acknowledged my existence :) Of course, I’d love some free peanut butter but nothing will work just as well. For the record – the Cinnamon Jif tastes like Teddy Grahams and Maple tastes like deliciousness.

In case you haven’t heard, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are making their own cooking show.

Some disgruntled Pizza Roll purchasers inspired the most romantic love story ever (involving pizza rolls).

Oreo finally made a flavor that I have no desire to try.

Godzilla isn’t winning a gold medal for soccer anytime soon.

A college in Ohio has the first ever pizza vending machine.

Science has finally done something useful with itself by cracking the code to keep avocados green!

Will someone please tell me where I can find a cucamelon? Seriously. I need this in my life.

This fall, Starbucks will be offering almond milk in your pumpkin spice latte.

In case you need a new Twitter account follow, allow me to recommend 100% Goats, offering 200% goats 300% of the time!

nonnie’s blueberry buckle


This month’s Baked Occasionally is brought to you by the August chapter and was chosen by Mrs. Table. Just like this wonderful summer month this cake is sweet and fill to the top with fruit. Not to be confused with a blueberry coffee cake, the buckle is… well, to be honest I’m not quite sure why it’s not a coffee cake. But it’s not.

Cake batter? Check. Berries? Check. Stresuel? Check! Delicious in the morning and even more delicious alongside coffee? Double check. But no, definitely not a coffee cake.

She may not look like much but what she lacks in presentation she makes up for in flavor. Baked’s blueberry buckle is a sweet, tender cake bursting with blueberries and topped with a sweet, crunchy streusel topping. It’s perfect for breakfast or dessert, or an afternoon snack.

What I liked:

Everything – it was delicious!

What I didn’t:

As per usual, the Baked recipe called for a special tube pan (which my frugal self has yet to purchase). While not nearly as gorgeous as Shannon’s tube pan cake, I did learn that it would fit perfectly into a 10 inch round cake pan. Of course, it will affect your baking time. I ended up using a 10 inch spring form pan so that I could still have the removable bottom feature.

I also threw a little batter into some muffin tins because everything is better in mini form.

You can see Shannon’s post over at A Periodic Table, or pick up the Baked Occasions book and bake along with us next month!


nonnie's blueberry buckle


    For the Blueberry Cake
  • 1½ cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups (170 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) canola oil
  • 2 ounces (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (115 g) sour cream
  • 4 cups (14 ounces/395 g) fresh blueberries
  • For the Streusel
  • ¾ cup (165 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1?3 cup (40 g) all purpose flour
  • 1?3 cup (40 g) cake flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


    Make the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and prepare a 10-cup tube pan or a 10 inch round springform cake pan by lining with parchment and spraying with nonstick cooking spray. (Or butter the pan and dust it with flour, knocking out the excess flour)).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, salt, ginger, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and sour cream and whisk until combined; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, oil and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl,
  6. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest, and beat for another 10 seconds
  7. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the standing mixer in three parts, alternating with the cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (flour-cream-flour-cream-flour). Beat at medium speed after each addition until incorporated, about 10 to 15 seconds each.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. The batter will be very thick.
  9. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  10. Make the Streusel
  11. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flours, and cinnamon until combined (lumps are okay).
  12. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and combine until the sugar mixture is thoroughly moistened. You can do this with your hands, a fork, or a spatula.
  13. Pinch off chunks of the topping and drop them over the top of the buckle batter. Use all of the topping and cover the batter completely.
  14. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs, 50 to 60 minutes. (Note: Baking time for muffin size was between 15 to 20 minutes)
  15. Set the cake pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a paring knife, then push the bottom of the pan up (If using a removable bottom) to release the cake. Use the knife to loosen and remove the cake from the bottom of the pan, then cool completely, topping side up, on a cooling rack.


* If you don't have a tube pan, feel free to use a 10 inch round cake pan or spring form pan. Preferably something with a removable bottom.

* Portion into muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes for bite sized treats.

* If the streusel topping browns too much while cooking, just cover it with some foil while the cake continues to bake.


Disclaimer: This post includes an Amazon Affiliate link. I may earn a small commission for my link to any products or services from this website. 

baked occasionally july – nanaimo ice cream bars

baked occasionally july |

Welcome back to Baked Occasionally – where Shannon and I bake our way through the Baked Occasions book, month by month, just for fun. We do all the hard work, so you don’t have to, and let you know what tricks we learn along the way!

After weeks of indecision, Mr. Eats chose this month’s recipe… on Friday evening, actually. Yes, I suck, I know. Luckily for us, these required zero tinkering, they came out perfect on the first try.

Although technically for Canada Day, which has passed, I’ll dedicate these babies to my favorite Canadian, Movita Beaucoup in honor of Canada anyway. Besides, these chilly treats will make the perfect treat all summer long regardless of your location.

Featuring a salty, chocolate crust topped with rich, cool ice cream and a thin layer of fudge – these bite-sized treats are absolutely irresistible. When perusing the book recipes, I wasn’t even particularly interested in this recipe, but I gave the burden joy of choosing July’s recipe to Mr. Eats whose love for ice cream immediately drew him to these.

In case you’re wondering, I used Tillamook’s vanilla chocolate chip ice cream because it’s what I had in the freezer. If Tillamook is available near you, you absolutely  must get their ice cream as it’s hands down my favorite (mass-produced) ice cream of all time. Just sayin’. This stuff is goooood.

What I liked

  • Easy peasy – This is like the easiest thing I’ve ever made. I could have fancied it up with homemade ice cream, but why bother?
  • Oven-free! – That’s right! You’d be surprised how hard our a/c has to work when it’s 110 out and I turn the oven on. Trust me, it’s not pretty. Plus, oven-free makes these super kid-friendly too so let the little ones help out!

What I didn’t

  • Nothing – Seriously – Not a thing! In this case, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I’m generally against nuts in my desserts but they blend in perfectly with the bits of pretzel and digestive cookies. If there’s a nut allergy or something in your family, go ahead and omit them I don’t think it’d make much difference.


nanaimo ice cream bars


    For the crust
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) toasted walnuts,, chopped
  • 5 1/4 ounces digestive biscuits or graham crackers (about 15 biscuits)
  • 2 1/2 ounces thin pretzel sticks
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg,beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the ice cream
  • 2 pints ice cream (recommended: vanilla, coffee, or salted caramel)
  • For the fudge
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped


    Make the crust
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inch overhang
  2. Place walnuts in a large bowl
  3. Crush digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) until finely ground,, with a few coarse chunks remaining. Add to walnuts. You can do this using a food processor or by putting them into a large ziploc bag and crushing them with a rolling pin.
  4. Coarsely crush pretzels, leaving peanut-sized chunks, and add to the bowl with walnuts and biscuit crumbs.
  5. Place another large bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add butter to the bowl and heat until melted.
  6. Once the butter is melted, remove the bowl from the double boiler and add the brown sugar and cocoa to the bowl, whisking until combined. While whisking, add the egg in a slow steady stream. Return the bowl over the simmering water and whisk for another 60 to 90 seconds until smooth, shiny, and slightly thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the walnut/crumb mixture, stirring with a spatula to combine until the entire mixture is moistened.
  8. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  9. Ice cream time
  10. Set ice cream out for 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Place in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until softened,, but not melted.
  11. Remove crust from refrigerator and spread the ice cream over the crust, smoothing the top.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for 2 hours.
  13. Make the fudge
  14. While the bars are chilling, make the fudge layer by heating the cream, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat.
  15. Stir the mixture and once it begins to simmer remove the pan from the heat.
  16. Add the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  17. Fudge time
  18. Remove pan from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap; pour the fudge over the top of the ice cream layer.
  19. Use a small offset spatula to spread the fudge in an even layer. Re-cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer for another 2 hours.
  20. Serving
  21. Remove bars from pan using the parchment overhang to pull the bars up from the pan. Place on a cutting board.
  22. Run a sharp knife under warm water and cut into bars, running the knife under water and wiping it clean as needed.
  23. Serve immediately, or wrap individual bars with plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe bag until ready to eat.



Disclaimer: This post includes an Amazon Affiliate link. I may earn a small commission for my link to any products or services from this website.