Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

It’s back to school time in Boston. The little kids start up again on Wednesday here in Massachusetts. When I was young, I always got nervous before the first day of school. Maybe excited is a better word for it? Either way, I could never fall asleep the night before the first day of school. It was part anxiety about whether I’d wake up in time after enjoying sleeping in all summer and part excitement about seeing my friends every day again.

Peanut butter and jelly is such a classic nostalgic flavor combination. It can whisk anyone back to the 3rd grade lunch room. These bars do just that. They’re ooey gooey and delicious.

I originally thought I’d have enough of my homemade blueberry and strawberry jam to use in these bars. When I realized I was almost out, I let Hubby choose the jam flavor for these bars. He went with Bonne Maman Four Fruits Preserves. It’s got strawberry, raspberry, red currants, and cherries. It is a high quality jam that really did shine in these bars.

Hubby and I both agreed that we liked the middle pieces best. I usually and edge person and actually prefer corners the best. But with these bars, the peanut butter started to take over as you got closer to the edge of the pan. The center pieces had a great ratio of PB&J. If I were to make these again, I’d either add more jelly to the mix, or at least spread it further to the edge (I had read in the reviews of the recipe that if you have jelly exposed it would burn, so I was nervous about that).

What do you remember about going back to school when you were young?

One Year Ago: Fish Tacos
Three Years Ago: Spice Cupcakes

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Yield: 24

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

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.

Recipe from Ina Garten

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9 Responses to “Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars”

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    newlywed — September 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    As a teacher, I still get nervous for the first day of school! Same butterflies in my tummy I had for the first day of high school :)
    The look SO yummy, hope to try making them soon.

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    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — September 6, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    The flavor combination of PB&J always brings me back to my childhood. I loved the first day of school – new outfit, new backpack and school supplies…

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    Krystal — September 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Yum these look great Jen!! I totally agree on adding more jelly or jam to these…the ooey gooey of PB sticks to the roof of my mouth. Make sure to have milk if these bars are made! LOL

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    Ashley — September 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Tomorrow marks the first day of my eight year of teaching so I love your back to school post. I am bookmarking this recipe, love PB & J!

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    Boston Food Diary — September 7, 2010 at 1:40 am

    I have been obsessed with peanut butter lately and these look simply amazing….even if I’m not headed back to school! Yum!

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    Eliana — September 7, 2010 at 3:22 am

    These bars looks absolutely perfect.

    My favorite part of going back to school was (and I know I’m a nerd for saying this) was using new school supplies. My mom always got us the best pens, pencils, folders, binders, erasers…you name it. And whipping them out the first week of class was the best feeling ever.

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    nutmegnanny — September 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    This looks perfect for the back to school season! I’m a nanny so I know the little I watch would love to make these for herself and friends. I guess I know what we are doing tonight :)

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    Cupcake Activist — September 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    This is very similar to my favorite workout bar–Clif Mojo Peanut Butter & Jelly. Maybe I can start saving money and make my own bars. Thanks!

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    We Are Not Martha — September 7, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve made something similar before, but these look SO good my stomach is grumbling :) Definitely bookmarking for soon! I miss the new outfits and seeing who’s in all your classes :)

    Sues

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