Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

No one would call my husband sophisticated and that's why I love him.

He's complex in some areas and deceptively simple in others - he loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and this causes some angst from me as I am a housewife and one of my daily jobs is to make my man his lunch and while I aspire to fancy multi-layered sandwiches with exotic cheeses, hearty breads and spreads, he'd happily eat PB&J on white bread every day for the rest of his life.

Now, you may be thinking, big deal! Well, here is a confession - jelly makes me cringe. The stuff is otherworldy and the texture gives me the heebie jeebies. Truly.. it's a scary, quivering mass.

Now, I love me some jam (but never with peanut butter - both should stand alone except in this amazing recipe I found for PB & Jam bars! I'll post it below) but every day that I have to spread that jelly stuff over bread, I die a little inside.

so... because I love him, I make the sacrifice.

Here is the recipe:

Barefoot Contessa's Peanut Butter & Jam Bars

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (hey, get some Watkins Vanilla from me!)
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I use large and it works)
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (Ina recommends Skippy, I use Jif)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the 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.

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