Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars...

I didn't really have any rhyme or reason for picking out these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars for this week's Wednesday Treat Day. Usually I ask Jeff for input, but he was too busy playing with Gus when I was picking out recipes for the week.

Keep in mind when you're gandering at the ingredient list that these should be cut fairly small without worry that they won't be sufficient... so, no heart attacks when you see the lavish amount of butter combined with gobs of creamy peanut butter!

As you can imagine then, the base layer of these bars is quite decadent - the good news is the dough is a snap to prepare and quite easy to work with. Once brought together, the mixture is actually split up to be used in two ways. Over half of the stiff tan dough was separated out and pressed into the bottom of the baking pan - after smoothing it out, the top is anointed with your favorite type of jam. We used strawberry as we like that pairing with peanut butter (and come on, they've even made that combination into an M&M!), but I wouldn't hesitate trying blackberry, grape or raspberry.

Now that the dough was capped with that jeweled-toned topping, the rest of that indulgent dough is crumbled all over, creating lumpy nuggets of peanut butter goodness (there's that word Jeff loves to use again...). To give these bars some crunch and reinforce the nuttiness, we scattered over coarsely chopped peanuts before baking these bars off. Do yourself a favor and use salted nuts - while there is plenty of salt in the bars, the nuts (and frankly the bars as well) need the boost to cut some of the sweetness and not come across as being flat on the tongue.

There isn't much to do when checking for doneness of these bars - when the scent of peanut butter starts to fill the room and the top takes on a definite golden hue, they are good to pull out. After slicing the first row of bars, I noticed how they exuded the essence of richness by just their appearance of being thick, dense and frankly, like they should be illegal! Saying that, you can be sure they weren't too intense that I put away two bars in a short amount of time. I'm curious about one thing though... while I love peanut butter and jelly, I wonder how these would work if one would trade the jam for say, that groovy hazelnut spread that we all know and love as Nutella?


  1. Jeff, Do you think these would freeze well?

  2. I made Ina Garten's recipe for these bars once and subbed chopped candy bars in for the jelly layer. Holy cow they were the most decadent thing I have ever made. My co-workers gobbled them up but they were too rich for my blood :)

  3. Looks delicious Joe. I was finally shopping at Costco in the states and did buy tons of unsalted butter and other baking supplies. I'm ready to make your delicious desserts. Butter is so much cheaper in the states.

  4. Yum. These look incredible.

  5. Pam - I do think they would freeze well!

    Josie - Noting the candy bars! Perfect when Halloween is over.

    Helene - I haven't made my baking supply trip yet. Soon though!

    Emily - You should have tasted just how incredible they were! Give them a try!

    Bethie - Thanks!