I'm not too big of a peanut butter fan, but these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are by far the most requested treat I make. This recipe is from Ina Garten and like all of her deserts, this recipe is just amazing. These bars taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with some extra pizazz.
And who doesn't like pizazz?
As you can see I used pecans instead of peanuts, but that's just because I had a bunch I needed to use up. I also used honey-roasted peanut butter since it was on sale. Surprisingly, there was actually a big difference. The peanut butter taste wasn't as strong as usual and I actually prefer the more subtle taste the honey-roasted peanut butter imparted. So if you're like me and aren't too crazy about peanut butter, I would offer that up as a solution.
Make sure you really let the bars cool before you attempt to cut them if you want to avoid a mess.
Would I make this again? Most definitely.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
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.
1. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan. (I usually double line my pan with foil so I can just pull the bars completely out of the pan once they're cooled.)
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.