Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
I'm not sure it would even be possible to calculate how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I have eaten in my life. I always liked it as a kid but my habit really started in college. It's cheap, easy to make and doesn't really need to be refridgerated. I still eat at least one peanut butter and jelly sandwich per week but I do like to mix it up with a peanut butter and jelly dessert.
This is a recipe I adapted from the Barefoot Contessa. It' always surprising to me how much people love this dessert. Everyone likes a taste of childhood I suppose. They were even my boyfriend's dessert choice for his birthday. Not only are they a big hit, they are pretty easy to make.
For them you will need:
1 stick of softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of creamy peanut butter ( crunchy works well, too)
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup strawberry jam ( grape is also really good)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Combine the butter, sugar, peanut butter and vanilla. Add the egg and mix well until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour, salt, and baking powder gradually and combine just until mixed.
Spray a 9 X 9 pan well with cooking spray. Take a little more than half of the dough and make about nine small blobs of dough. Squish the dough until it covers the bottom of the pan well. Make sure to make a bit of a lip on the edges so the jam doesn't overflow.
See how the dough has an almost pizza like crust around the edge? This helps keep the jam in. When it gets hot, the jam turns into a sticky lava that is really hard to get out of the pan.
Sprinkle the dough with about 1/2 the chopped peanuts. Then spread the jam over it making an even layer.
Make more squished balls out of the rest of the dough and place it over the top. It's ok if little bits of the jam poke through. If you have extra dough, make the edge a little more reinforced. The jam sticking really is an issue if you aren't careful. Then, sprinkle over the remaining peanuts.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it is evenly browned. Cut into bars and serve with a tall glass of milk. Enjoy!