Have you ever heard the "Peanut butter jelly time" song or seen the ad with the dancing banana? If not, go here first. Pretty funny and I can't help but sing the song almost every time I make something with peanut butter and jelly (and usually that's a sandwich). For starters, I was raking my mind for what else I felt like baking this week--I thought about lemon bars and cupcakes, or challah and pretzels, or some sort of fancy dinner, but nothing really sounded good. Then I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for "Peanut Butter Jelly Bars." YUM.
Currently, I'm on a cookie bar/brownie kick-M&M blondies? Check. Snickerdoodle blondies? Check. Orange blondies? Check. Batter brownies? Check. So when I read the ingredients for these PB&J bars....2 1/2 cups of peanut butter and 1 1/2 cups of jam? Yes, please.
I came home from work wanting to make them and lo' and behold, I had ALL the ingredients already and didn't even have to go to the store. Well, almost all the ingredients. The recipe says to sprinkle crushed peanuts on top, but the bars already have 2 1/2 cups of peanut butter in them so who needs extra peanuts?
I got to work mixing the butter and sugar with my pink kitchenaid, then it says to add the 2 1/2 cups of peanut butter. Hm. I only had 1 1/2 cups. It was too late to "half" the recipe since I had already added the butter, sugar, and eggs, so I just used a cup of crunchy almond butter instead. Nut butter is nut butter right? The dough ends up being really thick and you spread 2/3 of it into a greased pan (it says to butter and flour the pan, but I'm pretty sure that's what PAM is for). Slather on jelly...I used red plum jam and to the other 1/3 of the dough, I added a 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Oatmeal+peanut butter=delicious. Sprinkle Dollop the dough over the jelly then bake.
These bars were super yummy but even a small piece of one made me want a big glass of milk to wash it down with (and that's saying a lot because I don't usually drink milk by the glass). Next time, I make these, I will add more jelly so the PB to jelly ratio is more even. Right now it's like 5:1 and I would like it to be 5:3. They also taste better the next day and not right after you take them out of the oven. Cut them and taste them while they're still hot=burned tongue from scalding jelly.
Peanut Butter Jelly Bars
Martha Stewart Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strawberry jam, or other flavor
2/3 cups salted peanuts, chopped
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter and flour. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter, beat until combined, about 2 minutes.
2. Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer and beat on low speed. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan, spread evenly with offset spatula. Using spatula, spread jam on top of peanut butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut butter mixture over jelly. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
3. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool and cut.