By Danielle Walsh, Bon Appétit
There's actually no wrong way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Most people prefer to eat them the way Mom made them -- even if that was a stingy swipe of Skippy and Smuckers on white. But no matter if you like crunchy or smooth peanut butter, grape jelly or raspberry jam, there are a few tweaks that will make your childhood lunch go-to much better. We talked to Alison Roman about the bread, jam, and technique for the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich you've ever had.
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1. DON'T use the best rustic bread you can find: A crusty loaf will be too hard and thick for your peanut butter and jelly, and make your sandwich way too dry. There is a time for soft, pre-packaged wheat or white bread (we <3 Pepperidge Farm!), and this is it. It's not a sandwich where you have layers of filling -- it's just two layers of soft, mushy filling -- and the peanut butter and jelly will get lost in thicker slices of bread.
2. DON'T get peanut butter advice from your friends: Peanut butter choice is a very personal issue. Some people like it smooth. Others love it crunchy. You do you.
3. DON'T put peanut butter on one slice of bread, jelly on the other: Unless you like jelly seeping through your bread and coloring your fingers purple (no judgment), spread peanut butter on both slices of bread. This way, you avoid soggy bread.
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4. DON'T pack in the filling: More is not more! This sandwich is all about the balance of flavor and texture. If you pile on the condiments, you'll have a sloppy mess. For standard white bread, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of each will suffice.
5. DON'T use any jelly you want: If you really want to upgrade your sandwich, use a good-quality jelly or jam that's lower in sugar, like Bonne Maman. And don't be afraid to play around with flavors -- swap our raspberry or strawberry for your standard grape. If you're in the smooth peanut butter camp, try jam with whole fruit to give your sandwich a little texture.