Recipe - Peanut Butter and Jam Bars

I went nuts when I realized that I got to bring desserts for a holiday party. This was just one of three I made, and I found it to be relatively simple actually. It could even be a great dessert to make for young children since it has familiar elements that they would like; I mean, who doesn't remember (and like) the classic peanut butter & jelly from childhood days? The recipe comes adapted from one from Bon Appetit Magazine.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 16 bars)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth
  • 3/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup jam
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Step 2: Preparing the equipment
Line the sides and inside bottom of an 8x8x2 pan (or similarly sized) with enough foil to be able to lift the concoction out when it is done; for this, leave a bit of overhang. I had to lay about 3 layers on. Press it down so it fits to the pan. Oil it up for non-stickiness!

Step 3: Making the dough
In one bowl, put together your flour, baking powder, and salt. In another, beat the peanut butter, sugar, and butter together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract; continue beating on low until smooth. Add the dry mixture and blend. Divide the dough and put one half in the freezer. Preheat oven to 350°F. Chop the peanuts; for measurement, I measured 2/3 cup of peanuts before chopping and the amount was good.

Step 4: Layering
Press the remaining half of the dough into the pan as evenly as possible. Spread your jam onto this dough layer. I used raspberry & blueberry jam - it was delicious. After your dough's been in the freezer for 10 minutes, remove it and crumble into large grape-sized pieces on top for a third layer. Finish by sprinkling chopped peanuts on top.

Step 5: Finishing
Bake the bars for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let it cool completely before you try to lift it out of the pan. Use the foil to do this and then remove it. Slice appropriately and enjoy!