These bars definitely fall into the decadent category. They are super rich, super dense and super delicious. You kind of have to be a PB&J type to really like these and since I am, I love them. This is the time of year for baking and some real comfort food baking seems to happen around the Holidays.
The trick to this recipe is to let it cool completely before even attempting to cut them. Actually, this time I put in refrigerator for a few hours, used a knife with a cup of water to cut. I cut them into very small pieces because they are so rich. Pour a glass of milk, sit down with a small piece and enjoy! The original recipe comes from Ina Garten and I’ve made a few small, personal changes. This time out I omitted the chopped peanuts on top, wanted to make it without , and they were perfect. The extra added peanuts add some crunch, but not totally necessary . I think we could all use a little of this good old fashioned comfort food now and again.
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (18oz.) creamy peanut butter (I use Skippy reduced fat)
1 1/2 cups (18 oz.) raspberry jam (or any other flavor you like) this time I tried seedless raspberry jam which worked out so well ( Smuckers or Bonne Maman are 2 of my favorites) but any one will do. Use flavor you like.
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
*2/3 cups chopped salted peanuts ( coarsely chopped) (I omitted this time out ) as you can see by pictures.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9×13 inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan. (You can also spray with baking spray. I like to use a little butter on parchment paper.)
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow (a few minutes). Switch the mixer to low-speed and add eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well.
In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture (dry ingredients) slowly into the peanut butter mixture, until well combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam (use a spoon and don’t worry if the jam isn’t completely covered). Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely and cut into squares.
*yields about 24 bars but I can usually get about 30 but cutting them small