Whether you are sending your kids back to school, going back to school yourself, or feeling the nostalgic feelings of what it was like to go back to school (like me), I think we all have one thing in common; you can never go wrong with peanut butter and jelly! The flavor combination has been around for longer than you and I have, and there is no wonder why. In honor of school starting back up, I am sharing one of my favorite ways to enjoy peanut butter and jelly which is in a dessert bar form.
I have fond memories of making this recipe, which is usually in the Fall, so these always remind me of back-to-school and football season. My Mom gave me one of Ina Garten's cook books for my Birthday one year, and I always find myself flipping through cook books during football season when there is more down time on the couch. The first time I made these bars was when my now Husband and I were just dating and it was a crisp Fall day. Football was on in the background at his apartment, and the room was filled with the amazing scent of these bars baking.
I knew I had to try this recipe since it was loaded with peanut butter and I love all of Ina Garten's recipes so I had a hunch they would be delicious. One bite into these bars and I knew this recipe was going to be a keeper!
Ina Garten's cook book, much like some of my old text books, have followed me from house to house over the years and it is one that I proudly display in my kitchen. This recipe has an old post-it note sticking out of it marking it's page. Yeah, it's one of my favorites :)
Since this recipe makes about 24 bars, they are perfect to bring on the first day of school, back-to-school activities, a Fall tailgate or just to cozy up with and enjoy. They are rich, flakey yet creamy and packed with flavor. They really do taste like the sandwich we all grew up on, sans the crust.
As Ina states in her book, these bars will appeal to everyone including the "inner child" in you. I hope you enjoy this recipe and it truly does bring out the inner child in you, as it has done so for me :)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Yields about 24 bars
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter, such as Skippy (18 ounces)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ cups raspberry jam or other jam (18 ounces)
- 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking 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 well 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 two thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly. 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; the dough will spread when it bakes. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into small squares.
*Recipe from Barefoot Contessa