I am not a muffin person.
In fact, the last thing that I ever want, even if I’m 10-seconds-from-passing-out, is a fluffy, soft muffin, with its cartoony dome top — dotted with nuts, fruit, or perhaps both — and promise to deliver some sort of satisfaction.
Yet here I am, pushing this – a muffin — on you today. But it is not like other muffins.
Wait just a minute. Let me go get one right now so I can eat one as I type the rest of this post.
OK, I’m back.
This muffin has a little story, so bear with me. Now, as many of y’all know, I was recently in Texas, and also in Santa Fe, which speaks to the cowgirl in me like no other place in the world. I went to New Mexico with my best friend Melanie, who kindly decided to drive – it’s only 9 hours, which is nothing when you’ve got months of catching up to do. We drove straight through to Amarillo, stopped for green chile cheeseburgers at the Golden Light Cafe, and pulled in on a Monday night. We spent the next couple of days discovering new places, revisiting some old favorites, and uncovering some not-so-new spots that I’d not known about (which you can read about in the story that I wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here).
The morning that we were going to drive back to Texas, Melanie and I stopped at Aztec Café, naturally, for a couple of XL lattes for the road, then pulled into Sage Bakehouse down the street for a little breakfasty snack to go along with.
Melanie bought a cream cheese-filled pastry (which she did not share, by the way), and I lingered over the selections, which were mostly of the croissant and pain au chocolat variety, two things that I have plenty of back here. Then a man walked up to the counter and ordered the ugliest, dark browniest muffin that I’d ever seen. He said that he came in to buy these all the time. That they weren’t too sweet.
I was sold.
I got my peanut butter and jelly muffin, hopped in the car, and we began our drive east. It wasn’t puffy on top. It wasn’t fluffy, either; rather, it was kind of dense. It was even a bit overcooked and crunchy around the edges – a mistake, I imagine, but it gave the muffin top a bit of a peanut butter cookie texture — which I really liked. It was also not too sweet, as he promised. I thought about this muffin all the way back to Texas, and when I returned to Paris, I kept thinking about it.
I remembered that the woman in the bakery told me that the owner was Andrée Falls, who opened the restaurant Parigi in Dallas decades before. I met Andrée Falls in 1990, when I wrote my first food story for The Dallas Morning News. It was about how chefs are influenced by their mothers, and she and I sat down and talked for a long while. Afterwards, she gave me a thin, hand-bound cookbook, “Parigi.”
I still had the book, its pages stained from years of use, on my bookshelf here in Paris.
On page 80, there it was. Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. How did I miss these before?
I made these late the other afternoon, knowing very well that muffins are usually not an afternoon thing. But when they came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist. Then I had dinner. And another muffin. For dessert.
Because I am not a muffin person.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
Adapted from “Parigi” by Andrée Falls
Makes 9 regular-size muffins
1-2 tablespoons butter (for greasing pan)
1 large egg
2 oz./1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter*
1 cup All-Bran cereal
1 cup whole milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon jam (I used Bonne Maman’s raspberry, but you may use the jam of your choice)
1. Preheat oven to 375. Generously grease a muffin tin with butter (1-2 tablespoons should do it).
2.Pour the milk and All-Bran cereal in a bowl and let rest for a few minutes.
3. In a stand mixer, mix together the egg, melted butter, brown sugar and peanut butter. Now add the milk and cereal to this.
4. Whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add this all at once to the rest of the ingredients and stir only until combined. Don’t overmix.
5. Fill the muffin tins with 1/4 cup of the batter, spoon 1 tablespoon of jam on top, and fill with another 1/4 cup of the batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top feels firm and is slightly brown and crunchy around the edges.
*I used creamy Peter Pan peanut butter because that’s all I had. The original recipe calls for crunchy, which I think would be best. Crunchy peanut butter is impossible to find in France, and I plan to add 1/4 cup of crushed salted peanuts to the batter the next time I make these, which will be soon.
535 Cerrillos Rd.
Santa Fe, NM