Monday, May 14, 2012

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

It's peanut butter jelly time! peanut butter jelly time! peanut butter jelly time! *banana dance*

That's pretty much all that went through my head as I made these. The internet has truly invaded my brain...

Anyway... short and sweet post to share this recipe with you all. These are totally delicious and you need to make them, especially if you're a lover of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. You get all the sweet creaminess of a PB&J along with a crust that is somewhere between a shortbread cookie and a flaky pie crust and a crisp streusel topping that has a hint of cinnamon and a slight chew thanks to the oatmeal.

You can change these up a bit by using a different kind of jam, jelly or preserve. I used a mixture of homemade raspberry and blueberry jam from last summer and it was a winning combination, but your classic grape jelly or something more exotic would be equally as delicious I'm sure!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
(adapted from Baked Explorations)

For the Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the PB filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups peanut butter (I used half creamy, half crunchy)
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 cups jelly, jam, or preserves

1. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13inch pan. Line with parchment paper leaving a slight overhang. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it turns into a coarse, sand-like texture. Add the egg to the dough and pulse just until the dough holds together.

2. Scrape all the dough out into the prepared pan and firmly and evenly press it all over the bottom of the pan and slightly up the sides. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the pan from the freezer and the inside with aluminum foil. Fill the pan 3/4 way full with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown. Set on a wire rack to cool

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325F. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter until completely smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour the mixture out onto the cooled crust and spread evenly using an offset spatula or knife. Chill in the fridge while you prep the crumb topping.

5. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the sugar and mix it in with your fingers then stir in the oats. Mix in the butter cubes using your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form.

6. Spread the jelly/jam evenly over the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle on the crumb topping covering the jelly. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes in the 325F oven, turning once, until the top is brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely then cut into 24 bars to serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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