This week is the Improv Cooking Challenge, and I was playing around with different peanut butter and jelly recipes for our themed challenge (the recipe I picked will be posted on the 19th). These bars are an Ina Garten recipe. They are very easy and very delicious. I love peanut butter and jelly, and these remind me of eating a sandwich. This recipe called for salt chopped peanuts on top, but as I was making the bars I realized I forgot the peanut at the store. I am sure it would have been delicious, but I really didn't miss them. I think this is a great recipe to play around with by using chunky peanut butter and different jelly/jams. I can't wait to bring these to work on Monday to share with my co-workers!
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Creamy Natural)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (I used strawberry jam)
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (I did not use this ingredient)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, 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 offset spatula. 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.