Growing up, one of my favorite food memories is sharing a snack with my Dad of peanut butter and jelly on Ritz crackers. For whatever reason our pantry always had Ritz crackers (and massive amounts of peanut butter and at least three open jars of different kinds of jelly in the fridge), and I could count on an open-faced PB&J almost every lazy Sunday. Take out a white paper plate, lay out a few Ritz, layer on the peanut butter and jelly, and lick the knife. Repeat. So when I was thinking of a fun and easy treat for Valentine’s Day this year, I decided to honor this gourmet concoction of my father’s and jazz it up a little in true Sweet Tooth style. Unlike the ones from my childhood, this version has two crackers, is dunked in melted chocolate, and decorated with adorable sprinkles, but the simple sweet and salty combination that I love so much still shines.
I know in past years I’ve gone on and on about how much I love Valentine’s Day. A day out of the year to tell someone you love them, eat chocolate, and smell roses really isn’t so bad, no matter what those Hallmark-haters say. But maybe one of my favorite parts, especially related to baking, is all the clever puns that stem out of the holiday. All of a sudden every phrase and combination of items can be turned lovey-dovey with a little imagination and are shuttled off to Pinterest without hesitation. “You are one hot tamale” (tied to a bag of Hot Tamales candy), “You’re one in a Minion” (tied to a twinkie dressed up as a Minion”), “I like you beary much” (stapled to a bag of S’Mores snack mix with Teddy Grahams), and on and on and on. So of course I had to add my own this year and make a PB&J pun to adorn these cuties – “we go together like peanut butter and jelly”. Cue the synchronized awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
I can’t remember the last time I bought Ritz crackers for myself, but I was very happy to have the leftovers in my apartment for a few days. I sent the chocolate covered ones as a Valentine’s Day treat to my family, but enjoyed deconstructed PB&J sandwiches long after I shipped them off. It’s such a classic in my mind and the combination is only made better with chocolate. And there’s no reason to enjoy this treat only in mid-February – swap out the sprinkles and make them for any occasion!
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Jelly Ritz Sandwiches
Yield: 30 sandwiches
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup jelly or jam
60 Ritz crackers
10 oz semisweet chocolate melts
10 oz white chocolate melts
Sprinkles, if desired
In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Lay out 30 of the crackers and spread about 1 tsp of the peanut butter mixture onto each cracker. Spread the jelly on top of the peanut butter and gently layer another cracker on top.
Put the semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring well between each interval, until completely smooth. Use a spoon to gently dunk 15 of the cracker sandwiches and tap off any extra chocolate. Transfer dipped sandwiches to a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and decorate with sprinkles. Allow chocolate to set, then transfer to an airtight container to store for up to 5 days. Repeat with white chocolate.