Ina’s PB&J Bars

22 May


This recipe is awesome. It is awesome for two-year-olds and and I think my grandpa would love it too. Who doesn’t love the comfort of peanut butter and jelly? I do, particularly on a rainy day on soft white bread (rule for comfort food: no need for nutritional concern). In fact, I still make PB&J for Jon and my lunches some days.

There are apparently a lot of people in England with nut allergies (how so many? I do not know), because the country as a whole is very paranoid about nuts (WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS NUTS). Therefore, when we lived overseas, there weren’t many peanut butter cookies or peanut butter bars. Marmite: yes; salad cream: yes; mincemeat pie: yes (why?); peanut butter: no. Thankfully, one of my dad’s favorite weekend activities was going to explore any new American imports at the Costco down south (it was a long drive for Costco…an hour maybe?) with Mr. Marchesi and they would pull through, bringing home peanut butter by the quart. My mom would roll her eyes, wondering how we would evey get to the bottom of that jar or better yet, how we would fit it in our teeny-tiny pantry, and then she would realize that dad bought the double pack. Peanut butter for everyone! My mom is fantastic and makes some wonderful peanut butter cookies, she used to let me make the criss-cross on the top of her peanut butter cookies with a fork. Thanks, mom.

There are peanuts on top of these bars, but if you don’t like nuts on your sweets, just leave them out. Also, these bars are pretty heavy, so I cut them into bite-size squares for easy snacking and so I would not have to commit to eating a whole bar.

Comfort food for all, ah, a recipe loved by all most.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

serves 36.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (use the full-fat stuff…remember the rule about comfort food?)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) jam (i used raspberry)

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. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer 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.Add in baking powder and salt.With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour 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.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool and cut into squares.


One Response to “Ina’s PB&J Bars”

  1. JTM June 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm #

    I just want you to know that those long trips to the Costco in Watford resulted in a life long friendship. Not only did we solved all of the world’s problems, but we also psychoanalyzed our children, coucluding that they WOULD turn out OK. Yes we did buy buckets of peanut butter and we spent hundreds of pounds on many other useless items that were never used.

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