I’ve yet to come across a human being who didn’t love a good pb&j sandwich. Pair it with a tall glass of icy cold milk and you’ve got perfection. I know that this sandwich evokes great memories for some but let me say, these pb&j bars will start making memories for you! They were downright fantastic! Soft, sweet, and just perfect. With some recipes I’ve made containing peanut butter, I’ve run into the issue where the pb does not come through enough but this is not the case with these bars. The pb flavor is front and center and the combination with the strawberry jelly is one I will not soon forget. I considered skipping the chopped peanuts on top (personally not a fan) but I’m so glad I didn’t because they added a wee bit of texture and some extra saltiness that these bars needed. And after reading the Musings post for this recipe, I also decided to add an extra 1/2 cup of jelly (as some commented the bars were a little dry) and chilled them in the fridge overnight before serving to really allow them to set.
If you’ve been following along with my Week with the Barefoot Contessa, you’ve come to the only dessert recipe I chose for the week so I recommend taking a few minutes tonight to make these. You’ve probably got all of the ingredients needed for the recipe but I don’t recommend waiting to make them. You’ll come across an exciting pumpkin recipe or some chocolate cake and these mundane-sounding bars will get passed on. Don’t let it happen!! You will be sorry!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home, page 170
- 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 (recommended: Skippy)
- 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 F.
- 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.