Making Hopleaf’s CB&J at home…

CB&J IngredientsLast week I had my first taste of the CB&J at Hopleaf and I haven’t stopped thinking of it since. The menu describes it as “on sourdough; house-made cashew butter, fig jam & morbier cheese, pan-fried.” Whether it is lust or love, this sandwich has my full attention. It isn’t even very expensive ($10), but being that Hopleaf doesn’t deliver and how I don’t feel like taking a trip to Andersonville I figured I would try my hand at it at home.

Of course I’m lucky if I have a can of tomato sauce in my cupboard, let alone fig jam, so before I could cook anything I had to make a quick trip to the store. I placed my bets on Treasure Island over Jewel as the selection for the unordinary is far better in “America’s Most European Supermarket.” Sure enough I was able to grab all the ingredients I needed (though I did forget what kind of bread Hopleaf uses so I ended up with wheat bread instead of sourdough.)

For those interested, here is the Treasure Island shopping list. If you end up elsewhere it better be someplace like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, otherwise you’re on your own!


Cashew ButterFig & Walnut ButterMorbier Cheese

MaraNatha cashew butter
Stonewall Kitchen Fig & Walnut Butter
1/3 lb morbier cheese (will make about 2 sandwiches)
Wheat bread (Hopleaf uses sourdough but I goofed up, still tasted good though)

Now being that this is nothing more than a glorified hybrid of a grilled cheese sandwitch and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how to make. Adjust quantities of ingredients to taste, but this is what I ended up with after sandwich number two.

  1. Turn on your panini press (read George Foreman grill) to let it heat up.
  2. Butter both two pieces of bread.
  3. Spread a healthy amount of cashew butter on top of the butter on one piece. By healthy I mean a lot, like your grandma would say healthy, not your twink boyfriend. Also, be sure to mix up the cashew butter before using it or your sandwich will be grosser than the stilton mac & cheese.
  4. Spread a thin layer of fig jam on top of the butter on the second piece of bread. Avoid having too much fig jam in any one section or your sandwich will begin to taste like a Fig Newton. -It really, really will taste like a Fig Newton-
  5. Cut some thin slices of morbier cheese and place on top of either the cashew butter or the fig jam, it doesn’t matter which side. Take a moment to savour how your fingers smell.
  6. Place the two pieces together (if you can’t figure out how then maybe you should have Mommy, Daddy, or “Daddy” make this…) and put on the Foreman panini grill (or pan fry it you pretentious tard.)
  7. Don’t burn it, eat it, and forget about how many calories you just consumed in one freakin’ sandwich.

CB&JLessons learned from making this sandwich: Too much fig jam really will make your sandwich taste like a fig newton, I SWEAR; butter makes a world of difference, get all Paula Deen on it; one sandwich is PLENTY, the darn thing is filling I tell ya’. 

It isn’t quite the same as going to Hopleaf. Maybe it’s missing the atmosphere, or it’s the lack of beer on tap, or maybe it really is the ingredients and the chef. I’ll tell you this much though – being able to whip one of these up at home in a few minutes sure is a pleasant alternative to braving the 15 degree temperatures in Chicago right now!

For the record, Hopleaf serves this with stilton mac & cheese. When they brought my plate to me I tried one bite of the mac & cheese and handed the rest over to a “friend.” I think it tastes like dirty socks and rotten mouse turds and wouldn’t wish the horrific disaster that is stilton cheese on anyone. If that’s your bag, however, feel free to try your hand at that as well (and send me the recipe so I can update the post!)

Did I mention if you put too much fig jam on it that you’ll end up with a giant fig newton? Yes? Good.