A while back, while scrolling through photos of food on Instagram, I came across a picture of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was enticing.
Let me just say that while I love peanut butter, I’m not fond of jelly. So, ever since I was a kid, I’ve been eating peanut butter sandwiches, sans jelly.
But the PB&J in this photo was so delicious looking, so scrumptious, that it made me think for a moment that maybe I’d been wrong. Maybe I’d judged jelly too harshly. Maybe I should give it another try.
Mmm, no. I’m old enough to know what I like and don’t like. Honey, yes. Jelly, no.
Then, a thought hit me. What if…now, hear me out…what if I made a peanut butter and cranberry sandwich? I had a jar of homemade cranberry sauce left over from Thanksgiving. I’ve used cranberry sauce for many things—why not a sandwich?
And, so, I did. And it was crazy good. I mean crazy AND good.
No, I was right the first time. Crazy good.
Cranberry sauce has that fruity sweetness that people love about jelly, but it also has a tart edge to it, making it a bit more sophisticated and complex. It’s just different, and sometimes that’s enough to make me like something. You can use store-bought cranberry sauce but homemade is so much better. And it’s so simple to make, it’s worth going the extra step. Below the main recipe is a very simple, basic recipe to make your own. Kept in the refrigerator, cranberry sauce can last for weeks. Plus, it’s something new to do with that leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving.
Also, if you use organic peanut butter and a good-quality bread, the health quotient on this sandwich goes way up: you’ve got protein in the peanut butter, antioxidants in the cranberries, AND whole grains?! What! Okay, okay, it’s just really delicious, and filling. (Peanut butter sandwiches are my go-to travel/on-the-go/emergency lunch because I know they will satisfy me and keep me going.)
So, here’s a way to have the classic comfort food, while making it a little more interesting. In a totally crazy good way.
I’m sure you all know how to make PB&J sandwiches, but since this is technically a recipe, I’ll write out the instructions anyway. Please don’t roll your eyes at me.
Peanut Butter & Cranberry Sandwich
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices whole grain bread
6 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup cranberry sauce (recipe follows)
Toast the bread until golden brown (or to whatever stage you prefer).Spread 2 tablespoons peanut butter on 2 slices.
Spread half the cranberry sauce on each.
Top with other slices of bread. Cut each sandwich in half.
1 (16-oz) bag cranberries
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch sea salt
Combine all the ingredients with 1½ cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until cranberries begin popping. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Transfer the sauce to clean glass jars and keep refrigerated until you need it.