Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

When I was a kid, I hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I know – isn’t that a staple in a kids life?  I only liked peanut butter sandwiches, and I would actually stress out when going to someone’s house, worried that they would serve jelly with their peanut butter sandwiches.  If I got super lucky, they would serve the peanut butter with fluff, but that didn’t happen very often…much to my disappointment.

Now that I have kids of my own, I have one that LOVES peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and fluff – and one that really only likes the peanut butter and fluff.  Neither one of them carried after my tradition of just peanut butter – but then again, I always have fluff in the house, and who wouldn’t love that?

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit – and I have to admit, that for a split second, I thought about replacing the jelly with fluff – but my adult mind kicked in and I realized that these bars with jelly would be awesome, they would be much too sweet with fluff.  These were fantastic, just the way the recipe read.  They were so soft and chewy, and even though to this day I still don’t like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, these bars were something else…

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grape jelly or other jelly or jam
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving 2-inch overhang around edges and pressing firmly into corners and up sides of pan. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter in large bowl until smooth. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low-speed until smooth. Add flour mixture; beat on low-speed just to blend. Transfer half of dough to prepared pan (about scant 1 1/2 cups). Place remaining dough in freezer for 10 minutes. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread jelly over in even layer. Remove dough from freezer; using fingertips, break into grape-size pieces and scatter over jelly layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts over.

Bake bars until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Using foil overhang as aid, lift bars from pan. Gently peel foil from edges. Cut into 16 squares.

DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in an airtight at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

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