AVCF #5: PB&J Muffins and Reminiscing about Korea


Is there anything more comforting than a PB&J sandwich? Perhaps these PB&J muffins.


Forget about Beyonce and Jay-Z–this is a match made in heaven.

And for that matter, is there anything more American?


After college, I spent two years teaching English in Korea on a fellowship program. Technically, I was a “cultural ambassador.” This translated to some more ambitious goals, like trying to explain to 1,000 Korean middle schoolers with varying levels of English abilities why calling each other “gay” was not appropriate, to more manageable lessons, like showing Miley Cyrus music videos.


The biggest flop was my first day’s lesson plan. I had already decided that my main educational goal was to promote critical thinking and responsible decision-making. To that end, I decided to have my students participate in a Rawlsian veil of ignorance-esque experiment where they would devise the class rules without knowing what their “identity” would be in the new society, i.e., my classroom.


Of course my hopes that they would devise rules like “respect each other” and “take turns speaking” were quickly crushed as the actual rules they came up with actually came closer to “No homework never” and “Teacher bring candy everyday.”


I showed a lot more music videos after that.


The other very rewarding thing that I did was volunteer with Korean orphans. During one of the parties that we threw for them, we served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. What kid, even a Korean one, wouldn’t love PB&J?


Turns out, most of them hated the peanut butter! The older kids tried to hide their disgust, but the younger kids just spit it out and reached for just the sweet, fruity jam. I guess if you’re not familiar with peanut butter, it is a bit like spreading thick, fatty butter all over bread.


It’s fun to see how different foods don’t always transcend different cultures. But, I bet those kids would feel differently about these muffins. The peanut butter taste is definitely present, but it’s not overpowering. Moreover, the texture is amazeballs.┬áThe peanut butter makes these extra moist, soft and delicious. Maybe the moistest muffins my mouth has ever met! (alliteration ftw)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins, slightly adapted from Pastry Affair
Yields 1 dozen muffins


1.5 cups (95 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (260 grams) creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 cup (235 ml) milk (I used soy)
Approximately 1/2 cup (160 grams) blackberry jelly


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a muffin tin or line with baking cups.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the egg, vanilla, vegetable oil, peanut butter, and milk, mixing until the batter is evenly incorporated.
3. Fill baking cups 1/3 full. Using the back of a greased spoon, make a well in the center of the batter and place 1-2 teaspoons of grape jelly. Fill baking cups until they are 2/3 full, taking care to ensure that the grape jelly is secured in the center of the muffins.
4. Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


  1. Gotta love your story–I had a roommate who somehow avoided trying any ethnic cuisine her whole life until she met me, and she gave me the weirdest faces when I told her about tofu and milk tea. I’m glad you chose the PB&J route though–I just ate about half a jar of each today with my Greek yogurt, and these muffins look delectable!

    1. Thanks! You should give these a try…and your roomie is totally missing out!

  2. These are a classic! I love anything with peanut butter, and the jelly just makes it a must make. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome! Let me know how it goes.

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