Peanut Butter & Jelly

I would have been seven with Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban hit the shelves. Many years later I read it to my children and now my grandson enjoys it.
What makes a picture book timeless? It’s the writing and illustrations, but it also has to touch on a universal feeling or truth. Francis is a picky eater. There will always be picky eaters and their parents. It’s frustrating for the adult, but as we see in Bread and Jam, it’s the picky eater that is losing out. Mother and Father know that. They give Frances the space to figure it out. They don’t say “I told you so” or “I knew you’d get tired of it”.
Another universal truth, in parenting patience isn’t easy, but it can pay off.

Frances only liked jam on her bread but when I was a child a peanut butter & jelly sandwich was often in the brown paper bag for lunch. And I have memories of my dad eating it right out of the jar, often immediately after dinner! It was his dessert.
I still love a PB & J or a peanut butter cookie or a Reese’s cup or any ice cream with peanut butter something stirred in! So, when I ran found a recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake, I tried it! It was loved by all the PB & J lovers in my family!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake
Prep: 35 min + chilling
Bake 1 ¼ hours +cooling

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon sugar
1 jar (16.3 oz) creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp milk
Filling:
3 pkg (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups seedless raspberry preserves
1 Tbsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place a greased 9-in springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Wrap the foil securely around the pan. Place on a baking sheet. In a bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until crust starts to brown, 6-8 minutes. Cool on wire rake. Reduce oven setting to 325.
  2. Beat peanut butter and milk until combined. Spread over cooled crust; set aside. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended. Pour over crust. In a saucepan stir together preserves and lemon juice over medium heat until preserves melt. Spoon mixture by tablespoonfuls over top. Cut through the batter with a knife to swirl. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of water to larger pan.
  3. Bake until center is just set and top appears dull, about 1 ¼ hours. (Center of cheesecake will jiggle when moved). Turn oven off and leave cake in oven with door closed for one hour. Open door. Seal with plastic wrap and let cool in oven. Chill before serving.

Author: Holly Niner

Holly Niner is the author of No More Noisy Nights illustrated by Guy Wolek, and The Day I Ran Away illustrated by Isabella Ongaro. She has had numerous stories published in children’s magazines, and her previous picture books were award winners. Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD, received the 2005 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities Award, and I Can’t Stop: A Story about Tourette Syndrome, was the winner of the 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award and a 2005 Bank Street College of Education Best Book. Holly lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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