Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies

Salted Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies

Life is all about choices.  What seems like a rather insignificant decision at one point in your life, can completely turn into something quite impactful.  When you stop and look at your life today, think back to how you got there, and you will be quite astonished, at least I am.  I think about how I met my husband in college, and if I had not gone to that school, where would I be now?  He was the main reason we came to Seattle, where I have spent the last 18 years of my life.  I look at my amazing children and think…wow, it was all because I saw that cat in the library.  And fortunately my husband and I ended up in the same freshman dorm.  Who knows if we would have met otherwise?

I guess you can do the same with mistakes you have made.  One wrong turn, and it can come crashing down.  And believe me, it is not pretty.  It is those times that you wish you could look back and make a different decision,
but often times it is too late.

For the most part I am a fairly decisive person.  Although, I absolutely have a right to change my mind.  I tend to work so quickly though, I don’t like to get bogged down.  Once I have the data I need, I move forward.  Now of course that is not always the case with food. Particularly when I am at a restaurant with too many good choices.  Thank goodness those decisions don’t usually have lifelong impact.  Cooking is a whole different game.  I usually know what I am after, and I make it happen.

On my continued quest to make homemade treats for lunches, with the added twist of baking dairy-free, I made a tough decision to substitute earth balance sticks for butter.  I found the recipe in Bon Appetit, and for the most part, their recipes are on the mark.  I think they do a really good job testing their recipes, and I am good at following directions, which makes for a very good combination.  I decided on earth balance as opposed to oil (which is what I normally bake with), because I thought the oil would make the bars too dense.  Well, turns out that the earth balance sticks were the same way.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we still polished off the entire tray of these, but they could have been just a little lighter.  But seriously – the homemade strawberry jam that I used, really made the entire dessert.  Fortunately for me, that decision will not have any life long consequences…at least I think so.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 1¼  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons  strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon chopped honey-roasted peanuts


Whisk together 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Whisk together 2 large eggs, 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, ¾ cup smooth peanut butter, ½ cup melted unsalted butter, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract; fold in dry ingredients. Scrape batter into a buttered 8×8″ baking pan. Dollop with 2 Tbsp. strawberry jam; top with 1 Tbsp. chopped honey-roasted peanuts. Bake at 350° until a tester comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

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