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Friday, April 1, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

All through elementary, middle, and high school, I packed a lunch most days of the week. Every so often my mom would treat me to a lunchable, but most of the time I found myself with a plain peanut butter  sandwich. This selection was by choice; for whatever reason, the thought of jelly mixed with peanut butter between my slices of bread was not the least bit appetizing. It wasn't until I found myself on a college retreat that I randomly decided to give jelly a chance.

Whoa. I was amazed to find out how much I had been missing out on. Finally, I understood thee expression it goes together like pb&j. They sure DID go together! Since that day, I have enjoyed many a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (though never grape jelly, which I'm convinced led to my jelly aversion in the first place!).

Needless to say, peanut butter and jelly lovers will go crazy for these dessert bars I found in the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. They are essentially a sugared-up version of my go-to sandwich--sweet, salty, and with a crunch from the peanut topping. These bars were, understandably, incredibly popular. Next time, I'll double the dish and make them in a 9 x 13 pan, the smaller pan just didn't last long enough!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine March 2011

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 large egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 cup raspberry preserves
-2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 8 x 8 metal baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl. whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, beating on low just until blended.
4. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of dough into prepared pan, pressing evenly in the bottom of the pan. Freeze the remaining dough for 10 minutes.
5. Spread jelly over the crust evenly. Remove remaining dough from freezer and scatter grape-size pieces over the jelly layer. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
6. Bake bars for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool bars completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Lift foil from pan to remove bars and cut into squares.

This post is linked to Eat at Home.