School starts again next week and the air should start to smell of freshly sharpened number two pencils and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (although I hear that the Teacher Supply Warehouse is in desperate need of #2 pencils – think inexpensive good karma). And while I think there are some serious rules against peanut products in schools these days – these Peanut Butter and Jelly bars are a great fix for a sweet dessert, an afternoon snack or a start of school party (this recipe will feed a large crowd). They taste exactly like the sandwich but they are much more dense. This recipe makes far too many for a single female – I’ve been sending them to friends and neighbors all week.
If you are one of the few families without a peanut allergy out there – I advise you try this recipe. And make them with your kids – learning happens at home as much, if not more, than out. With out all the cooking in my house growing up, there would surely be less mod on Mendenhall.
- 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
- 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.