While enjoying our first week of summer vacation, we decided to venture out to the good ol’ public library. Of course I managed to make my way to the cooking section. Completely surrounded by cooking books, I could barely contain myself! Immediately I started looking for my favorite food goddess: Ina Garten. Her recipes are to die for! I would give my right arm to be invited to her house in the Hamptons for any meal! (Ok, maybe giving up my arm is a little much, but seriously have you seen her show?!?) I nestled myself in a comfy chair, and was completely hypnotized by her amazing food ideas and pictures. So many recipes to choose from…
Having made homemade strawberry jam with my Mama over spring break, I have been trying to find a unique way to bake with it. I still had a couple jars of it taking up space on the kitchen counter. While flipping through the pages of Ina’s cookbook, and trying not to drool, one stood out….Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars. This is a very simple and delicious recipe. They turned out much better than I thought they would. Imagine a ribbon of sweet jam sandwiched between moist peanut butter cookies, topped off with crunchy chopped peanuts. If you love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you will ADORE these bars! The only thing I will change for next time is to add a little more jam, as per my husband’s request.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
(Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Makes 24 bars
½ pound –unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 ½ cups –sugar
1 teaspoon- pure vanilla extract
2-extra large eggs
2 cups- creamy peanut butter
3 cups- all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon-baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons –kosher salt
1 ½ cups jam
2/3 salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 X 2 inch baking pan.
-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a 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 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 just until 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. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; the dough will spread when it bakes. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into small squares.