I have been obsessed with these peanut butter and jelly bars ever since I saw Ina G make them on the Barefoot Contessa. So I finally got around to making them and, boy, are they good! When my husband got home that evening he could tell right away that I was baking with peanut butter and jelly. The fragrance had permeated the whole house.
A base layer of peanut butter cookie dough is slathered with jam or jelly and then topped with crumbles of some more cookie dough and chopped peanuts. I was concerned about the exposed jam along the edges since it appeared slightly burnt, but was relieved that it tasted like candy. Some people liked the candied edges while others preferred a middle piece where the jam was uniformly, for lack of a better description, jelly like throughout. The bottom crust had a sandy, melt-in-your-mouth texture but was sturdy enough to hold a clean cut without falling apart.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs, at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup jam or jelly (I used seedless raspberry jam)
2/3 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped (I used unsalted but Ina uses salted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13x2 inch cake pan with parchment and then butter and flour the parchment and pan.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix for another minute. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until flour is just incorporated.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small pieces of the remaining dough over the jam making sure to leave some of the jam exposed. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting and serving.