Saturday, June 25, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are super delicious.

I didn’t grow up eating them, and I didn’t even grow to like peanut butter until only a couple of years ago.  I also don’t like using “classic” white bread, but instead prefer a multigrain or whole wheat bread when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…I just don’t really like white bread, whole wheat is so much yummier.  Yes I’m weird, I know.  It’s ok though.

To this day, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches aren't something I eat very often, but every now and then I find myself craving a pb&j sandwich, because they’re filling, sweet, and so simple to make.  These bars are just as easy to prepare.

I had been eyeing this recipe for a while now; it seems to be incredibly popular, and I’ve seen it everywhere…I obviously had to try it out eventually.  I’m glad I did!  These peanut butter and jelly bars were so easy to assemble, and the only part that bothered me about the recipe was that I had no peanut butter left over at the end to make a sandwich with…although I guess making a sandwich and bars at the same time would have been a bit redundant.  Never mind actually, I take that comment back.

I used a mixture of white and whole-wheat flour, because I really love the extra heartiness that you get from using whole-wheat flour.  Next time, I think I want to try a mixture of creamy and crunchy peanut butters to make the dough with, just to give the bars a little extra crunch.  Not that they really need it though.  They’re pretty good as they are!  Even my dad, who normally hates peanut butter (shocking, I know), thought they were good!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa


·      1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·      1 ½ cups sugar
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      2 eggs, at room temperature
·      2 cups (about one jar) creamy peanut butter
·      1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
·      1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
·      1 teaspoon baking powder
·      1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
·      1 ½ cups strawberry jam or other jam
·      ½ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a two-inch overhang on each side, then grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter, mixing until all the ingredients are just combined.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, mixing only until just combined.

Spread about two thirds of the peanut butter dough into the prepared pan and spread over the bottom with an offset spatula, making sure the layer of dough is even. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Dot the top of the jam with the remaining peanut butter dough, making sure to cover the jam layer as evenly as possible (all the jam does not need to be perfectly covered, as the peanut butter dough will spread during baking). Sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares (makes 24 squares).


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