There were a couple years during graduate school and just following when I did most of my grocery shopping at a deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. It was definitely awesome as far as delis go—it had a great fresh produce section, an overly ambitious selection of beer, and enough gummy lychee candy to get me through the longest nights of writing. Its limited selection suited me fine as I didn't have the time or the money to do any heavy lifting in the kitchen. (It was what I fondly remember as the Era of the Eggplant. My go-to dish was one large eggplant, sautéed with red pepper flakes, garlic if I was feeling energetic, and topped with parsley and yogurt.)
When I finally moved on to shopping at a real super market, I went through a bit of a culture shock. It was so large—I was also now in California, land of horizontal property development—and so full of random boxes and brands. But it wasn't just the cereal aisle that took me by surprise (a US version of Krave! Kashi's jumped the shark!), it was the baking supplies.
Sure, I had access to chocolate chips and chopped nuts when I shopped at the deli, but all those extras, like butterscotch chips or chickpea flour or sprinkles shaped like hearts, had eluded me. So I did what any normal person would do: buy an assortment of random baking items and figure out what to do with them.
Of all the items, I'm surprised to say that peanut butter chips really won my heart. They've got a creamy texture that's great even straight out of the freezer and the peanut butter flavor stays on the right side of artificial. I've used them in a bunch of recipes, but this might be my favorite.
That's partially because I'm pretty obsessed with rugelach dough. It's tender, sweet, and flakey, with just the slightest hint of tang. Filling it with jam is a no-brainer, and where jam goes peanut butter often follows.
I make my rugleach dough in the food processor, rest it in the fridge, then roll it out into a large rectangle. I top that with strawberry jam (my childhood favorite) and peanut butter chips. Then roll the log up, jelly-roll style, and cut into cookies. They bake up flaky and tender outside and just a little gooey in the middle. They taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and it's awesome.