Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My Venture into Peanut Butter…and Jelly
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, Theresa, was having a casual dinner party and wanted me to bring an informal dessert. She has two sons – one in college and one in grade school. When discussing possible flavors for desserts, she mentioned that her kid liked peanut butter – so I assumed she was talking about her younger son. I then developed this recipe for PB & J Bars with a child in mind. I had to make it and tweak it a few times to get it just right and, in the final stages of testing, I let Theresa try it. She loved the bars and insisted I bring some to her party. It was then that I discovered she was referring to her college-age son who liked peanut butter. I didn't think that adults would appreciate such a simple dessert with childhood favorites like peanut butter and jelly. Apparently, I was wrong! These bars were a big hit and adults seem to love them as much, if not more, than kids. So get in touch with your inner-child and make this simple but tasty confection today. Enjoy – and happy baking!
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PB & J Bars
1/3 cup (5 1/3 TBSP) butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 yellow cake mix, sifted
Additional peanut butter for spreading
About 2/3 of a jar of your favorite jelly, jam, or preserves (I used seedless raspberry jam)
Preheat the oven to 325F.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the peanut butter and mix it thoroughly with the butter. Add the beaten eggs and stir to combine. Sift the cake mix into the peanut butter mixture. Why sift it? Cake mixes often have little chunks of stuff that do not break down easily in a thick dough. Using your hands, gently blend the cake mix into the peanut butter mixture until it is well combined.
Spray a 9 x 13" dish with cooking spray. Place about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the dish and press it firmly into the bottom of the pan. Make the outside edges slightly thicker than the middle (like you would pizza dough). Spread a very thin layer of peanut butter over the dough –leaving a 1/2" gap around the edges. Next, spread the jam over the peanut butter – again leaving a 1/2" gap around the edges. How much jam? Spread it about the same thickness as you would if you were making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I usually end up using about 2/3 of a jar.
Using the remaining dough, break off little chunks and drop them in a random pattern all over the top – making sure to go all of the way to the edges this time. When finished, you should be able to see some of the jam between the pieces of the dough.
Bake for 26 to 30 minutes or until the top has nicely browned. Cool completely. Cut into serving pieces of your desired size.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 5:29 AM