peanut butter and jelly bars

One day earlier this year we hosted the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside for an offsite retreat. I thought Ina Garten’s PB&J bars were right on theme with talking about kids, so we whipped these up for the afternoon snack. They are a little rich for a Miramar Farms healthy afternoon snack, but everyone needs a treat now and again. These are delicious!

(Note: I tried these one day with the sugar reduced to 1 cup. They were still good, but not as great as the original. Also, don’t scrimp on the jam. As always, the better the ingredients the better the outcome!)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Extra-Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting the pan.
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups berry jam
  • 2/3 cup Salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar 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 well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  4. Spread two-thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
  5. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Cool and cut into squares.

Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten.