Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

For the last week I've been working on a major bake sale, so I'd been keeping my eyes out for anything unique to contribute. I found that I need not go any further than Castsugar. True to form, these peanut butter and jelly bars are different from anything I could have found in my current collection of cookbooks. It's a very rich shortbread crust with a smear of jelly in the center; imagine a PB&J sandwich cookie, only as a brownie.

I made a few changes to the recipe, but these are still very rich and very sweet. I couldn't eat a whole bar by myself, which speaks a lot after all the spicy chocolate gingerbread I've scarfed! But more on that later. I used more peanut butter and less real butter, I also used the chunky variety. Instead of full octane jam I used a reduced sugar version. I would not recommend using anything containing a sugar substitute though; aside from messing up the perfect taste, the lack of real sugars would prevent the jelly from setting. Anyways, here's my recipe, with pics soon to come:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 1/4c chunky peanut butter
3c AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
18 oz jam (I used blackberry)

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Cream together the sugar, butter and PB. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and salt in small additions, mixing well in between. You should be left with a crumbly but malleable dough. Spread 2/3 of it on the bottom of the pan.

Spread the jam on top of the first layer. Sprinkle the rest of the crumbles on top, taking care to not mix them with the jam too much. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow it to cool completely before cutting into chunks, otherwise you'll get a gooey mess instead of a bar. Enjoy!

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