Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Growing up, I never liked peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I was the pain in the butt kid who requested sushi in my school lunches.  Once I got to high school, I realized that the union of peanut butter and jelly between two slices of soft bread is quite harmonious.  I ate them every day.

As I was flipping through the glossy pages of my Barefoot Contessa “At Home” cookbook, I stopped at a picture of “Peanut butter and jelly bars.”  I made a half batch of them in an 8 by 8-inch pan, and it still made plenty.  The peanut butter was salty, the jelly was sweet and gushy and the peanuts on top added the perfect crunch.  If I were to make them again, I would add more jelly and cook them for less time than I did.  I would say they brought out my inner child, but since I would have hated them as a child I will just say…yum.

Makes 24 bars

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam or other jam (I used less, but instantly regretted not following the recipe)
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.  In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.  (Or use a regular bowl with a hand mixer)  With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until well 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 until just combined.

Spread two thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough and drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  It doesn’t matter if all the jam isn’t covered.  Sprinkle with the peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and cut into small squares.

**A picture to come!


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