Peanut butter and jelly never gets old. My fondness for this classic combo has only grown stronger since my days of pulling crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from my Care Bears lunch box. These baked pockets give us just the slightest twist on the classic. All the great peanut flavor and sticky jam, but made ahead (and frozen!) for easy lunches through the week.
There's a double dose of peanut in these calzone-like sandwiches. Some peanut butter gets mixed into the whole wheat crust, making it tender and flavorful, and then another few spoonfuls are tucked into the middle along with the jam. If you don't like peanut butter or are allergic to it, any other nut or seed butter would work just fine here.
As for the jam, I really like something with some whole fruit chunks. This makes the sandwich feel more substantive, and I love the rich fruit flavor. Bonne Maman's strawberry jam hits the spot for me every time.
The palm-sized version of these pockets are the perfect afternoon snack and while the bigger ones work as lunch. Pack frozen pockets straight from the freezer and they'll be thawed by the time you're hungry. You can eat them as is or warm them in the toaster.
This is our much-loved PB&J, just dressed in a different package. Less messy, more classy, still just as tasty.
Whole Wheat Double Peanut Butter & Jelly PocketsMakes 8 sandwich-sized pockets or 16 snack-sized pockets
For the dough:
1/2 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup milk, whole, 2%, or skim
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1 teaspoons salt
For the pockets:
1 cup jam or jelly
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1/4 cup of milk
Mix the water and yeast together and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Warm the peanut butter and honey in 15 second bursts in the microwave until they have softened enough to stir together easily. Stir the milk into the peanut butter and honey (some peanut butter chunks are fine), then stir this mixture into the yeast. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and stir until a shaggy dough is formed.
Sprinkle a little all-purpose flour onto a clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It's better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading.
Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it's coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it near your work surface.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half. Set half aside and cover with a kitchen towel to keep from drying out.
Working with the first half of dough, divide into 8 pieces for sandwich-sized pockets (or 16 pieces of snack-sized pockets). Using a floured rolling pin, roll each of the pieces into a circle roughly 5-6 inches (or 4-5 inches for snack-sized), and as thin as you can make them. Roll from the center of the dough outwards, as you do for pie dough. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for five minutes and try again.
In the center of half of the rounds, spread a 2 tablespoons of peanut butter topped by 2 spoonfuls of jam (or 1 tablespoon each for snack-sized). Leave at least an inch of clean border around the edges. Brush this edge with a little milk and top with another circle of dough. Use the tines of a fork to firmly seal the edges.
Transfer the pockets to the parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced an inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges of the pockets turn golden-brown. Let the pockets cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Store baked pockets in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. If desired, toast the pockets before eating. Pockets can also be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and frozen for up to three months. Frozen pockets can be thawed and eaten as is, toasted, or briefly microwaved.
• Subbing the Peanut Butter: You can replace the peanut butter with any other nut or seed butter you prefer.
• Subbing the Dairy: You can replace the milk with any non-dairy milk.
• Filling Variations: PB & banana, PB & honey, Nutella, Nutella and bananas
(Image: Emma Christensen)