Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
The scent of Fall has filled the air. Pencils are sharpened, shoes are squeaky clean, teeth are brushed (so they claim), hair perfectly combed, and lunches are packed. The hearts of our young ones filled with hope, and their tummies filled with butterflies. For it’s a fresh start. Not a new year, but a new school year. And for our children, it’s the biggest day of their lives.
Going back to school…I still remember how it felt. Don’t you? Everything was so simple back then. Summer days felt like an eternity. You couldn’t wait to see your friends, to share stories of summer break adventures. School crushes, new teachers, recess gossip. Those days when all you had to worry about was homework.
At least, that’s how it seems now, looking back. Small and simple. But to our kids, school life is far from small and hardly simple. School life is…life. It’s BIG. And it’s complicated. Their world revolves around school crushes, new teachers, and recess gossip. They have anxieties, fears, pressures, challenges, new experiences, excitements. Feelings so big they can barely process them. Hopefully, some homework too. We’ll remain optimistic.
Going back to school is a monumental time. A time for our youth to find out who they are. To learn lessons, to gain independence, to grow up.
As parents, this time is bittersweet. Learning lessons means seeing your children succeed, but it also means seeing them hurt. Gaining independence means they’re becoming confident and capable, but it also means they won’t need you like they used to. And growing up…it’s inevitable and so rewarding to witness, but it also breaks your heart. Because they will always be your babies, and you want them to stay little and innocent forever.
So, on the first day of this new school year, as you send your littles off, remember, though it may seem small and simple to you, it’s the first day of the rest of their lives. It’s a big deal. Let the young ones hug you a little longer if they need to. They’re just beginning. Let the older ones act like they don’t know you. They’re too cool for school. It’s nothing personal. It’s all part of growing up.
All you can do is love them. Celebrate what makes them unique. Teach them acceptance, tolerance, compassion, and grace. Help them believe in themselves. And though it may be bittersweet, encourage them to brave the world on their own, and when they do, be their support to come home to. Tell them they’ve made you proud.
New beginnings should be celebrated, by both you and your shining students. If you want to be a gold star parent, have ready the ultimate after school treat: Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. A whimsical twist on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, these crafty cupcakes are the perfect treat to share as your children recap every detail of their first day. Loaded with peanut butter, topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing, and generously filled with Stonewall Kitchens sweet strawberry preserves, they’ll make you nostalgic for your school days, and your children nostalgic for you.
Peanut Butter Cupcakes
*Makes 18 cupcakes
- 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 light brown sugar, packed (if at high altitude decrease by 1 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder (if at high altitude decrease by 1/4 tsp)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I don’t recommend natural as it’s too oily)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream. at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature (if at high altitude add 2-4 tablespoons of water to your milk)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (375° if at high altitude). Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the milk and sour cream together. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter and two sugars till light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, egg white, and vanilla one at a time. Mix well after each addition.
- Add the peanut butter. Mix till combined.
- With the mixer on low, add 1/2 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the milk mixture. Repeat. Mix till just combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool on wire rack.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter.
- Slowly add the vanilla and powdered sugar.
- Once combined, mix on high speed for 3 minutes till light and fluffy.
You’ll need one jar of fruit preserves. I love Stonewall Kitchen’s strawberry or raspberry jam, but any flavor will do. With a pairing knife or apple core, remove a center piece of the cooled cupcake. Fill with a generous spoonful of preserves. Top with frosting and garnish with fresh fruit.