I love peanut butter and jelly. Whenever my son asks for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I secretly hope that he won't finish it all, so I can scavenge the rest. Somehow in my mind, sneaking Aaron's leftover sandwich is less shameful than actually making myself a lunch that is usually consumed by preschoolers and not respectable grownups. Please don't judge me.
When I came across this recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars in Ina Garten's cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home, I was ecstatic. A grownup version of peanut butter and jelly!
These bars are rich, packed with peanut butter, jelly and topped with chopped peanuts. I used strawberry jam, but any jam could work. If I made this again, I might actually use more jam, as the jam layer was slightly overpowered by the peanut butter. Also, I was lazy and skipped the step of lining the pan with parchment paper. The bars came out just fine. One batch made enough for a party plus leftovers (which our family very much enjoyed).
Warning: make sure you have some friends to share this with! They are dangerously addicting.
I dedicate these peanut butter and jelly bars to all you parents out there (especially those who gladly eat your kids' peanut butter and jelly sandwich leftovers).
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.