I'm not sure if this is weird or not, but as much as I love cooking, I'm really not a fan of recipes. To me, cooking is like a little art project that just happens to be a necessary part of every day. I'm always mixing it up — whether that means putting a twist on PB&J or something way more elaborate. Learning which tastes, textures, and combinations you like best is a constant process, and discovering new flavors can be so much fun. Sure, recipes get you to a solid result (and maybe back to one you've had a hundred times), but recipes can also get in the way of your kitchen creativity — whether you're a master chef or simply looking for an easy, tasty snack.
It's with this spirit of culinary conquest that we decided to seek out new horizons for one of our all-time favorite snacks: PB&J. Yes, it's a classic. Yes, you've eaten them thousands of times and they always deliver. But where else can you get that nostalgia-filled, timeless flavor combo? We brainstormed a bit and, with the help of jam MVP Smucker's®, came up with seven new ways to eat PB&J — and in the spirit of gold medal competition, had three of Bustle's biggest PB&J connoisseurs put them to the test. Here's how team PB&J stacked up:
1. On Graham Crackers
Mackenzie: This is Great! Kinda gives off that summery S’mores vibe, ya know? It’s a little hard to eat because it comes out of the bottom, but hey, it’s a fun after-school snack!
Bry: This is a fun PB&J and I like the crunchiness. The graham crackers give it a nice snap!
Kelsey: Definitely not a good first date food. It’s messy and gets all over your fingers. It’s really good, though. Just have plenty of napkins nearby!
2. On A Crêpe
Mackenzie: This one feels like it should be served hot, but tastes the most gourmet. I really like it!
Bry: This tastes the most like an actual PB&J, but a little lighter than a traditional PB&J.
Kelsey: Tastes very french with a splash of Americana. I want another one.
3. In Banana Stacks
Mackenzie: I loved it — finished it immediately! It’s light, cool, and super fresh.
Bry: This is one of my favorites. It tastes really good for you. Like I don’t have to go to the gym now.
Kelsey: It’s like PB&J but cutting out the carbs. It feels very refreshing and light. Not super heavy at all.
4. In A Smoothie
Mackenzie: Berry yogurty! Ba-dum-ch. It was a little heavier than expected, but the peanut butter and jelly definitely made it tasty.
Bry: Not bad taste-wise. This is probably my least favorite so far because of the consistency.
Kelsey: I would describe this as happiness in a jar. So yummy!
5. On Popcorn
Mackenzie: Wow, I like this! I’m into it. It’s buttery but sweet, which is what makes it really good. It’s like a mix of the two things. Love it!
Bry: It’s not going to give you a traditional PB&J experience. It’s good, but it doesn’t taste like a PB&J. This would be a great party food.
Kelsey: Perfect snack to pair with a DVR binge-a-thon.
6. On Waffles
Mackenzie: This is a nice alternative to syrup. I used to eat this for breakfast growing up, so I love it. It brings me right back.
Bry: I literally eat this every morning. It’s a fun and easy breakfast that you can eat while you’re going to work. I know from experience.
Kelsey: It tastes like childhood. Nostalgia in every bite.
7. On Apple Discs
Mackenzie: I took a bath in the jelly because it’s so messy. The fruit is refreshing, but I'd go for the banana stacks instead.
Bry: It’s a little hard hard to eat, but it tastes good — you can’t really go wrong with peanut butter and apples.
Kelsey: It’s super fresh tasting. Nice, crunchy, but definitely a bit messy.
Gold: PB&J Waffles
Silver: PB&J Banana Stacks
Bronze: PB&J Crêpes
This post is sponsored by Smucker's®.
Images: Lauren Perlstein; Food Styling: Jenna Wexler