I recently came across this recipe, yet another one from the Barefoot Contessa (I just need to suck it up and buy her cookbooks). I've made it three times, and every batch was perfect. I brought it to a party, family get-together, and most recently for an office Food Day, and every time it was devoured and the recipe was requested.
I think what I love about this recipe is that it tastes exactly like a PB&J sandwich, without the mushy bread. Instead the bars have a shortbread-type texture to them, which I love. Beware, though: they're rich. I gave myself a tummy ache the first time I tried the recipe, because I ate a big one. And then another. And one more before bedtime.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 c. creamy peanut butter
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
18 oz. jam (I always use blackberry jam, b/c I lurve it)
2/3 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 X 13-inch cake pan.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife (or smoosh down with your fingers). Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.