Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Did You Know? The world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich was created in Oklahoma City, OK, on September 7, 2002 by the Oklahoma Peanut Commission and the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. The PB & J sandwich weighed in at nearly 900 pounds, and contained 350 pounds of peanut butter and 144 pounds of jelly. The amount of bread used to create the sandwich was equivalent to more than 400-one pound loaves of bread.

I don't know if I ever mentioned this before, but when my best friend Chris came home from a semester in New Zealand last Summer, his teaching goals had somehow evolved into a baking career. And apparently I was to be his business partner. So ever since then, we've pretty much been all talk. We came up with a name for our bakery, Sweet Inspirations (Chris is a Philosophy Major), are working on a logo (thanks Jeff), we have this little website of mine, but we hadn't actually baked anything together...until now.

I have been meaning to make these bars ever since I saw them on Martha Stewart. Peanut butter and jelly has always been my favorite flavor combination, although the PB has been put on the back burner for my preference for almond butter. But that's besides the point. Any nut butter mixed with a fruity jam is an unstoppable combo. Throw in some butter and sugar and turn it into a bar-type cookie, and I'm in PB & J heaven.



Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

We made these so that Chris would have something to present to his family for Easter a few Sundays ago. We're always talking about the bakery with them, convincing our future investors that we'd make a great investment, so we thought it was about time to show them what we're all about. The sticky-sweet jam sandwiched between peanut-buttery shortbread brought the classic lunchbox staple to new levels. Sprinkled with roasted peanut pieces, this bar was the ultimate in sweet and salty. Although we couldn't help but to try a piece straight out of the oven, I'd recommend letting them cool before slicing. The warm pieces sort of slid apart, but the oozing peanut butter and jam was something I just couldn't wait to dive into.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

I'm known for "healthing" up a lot of the recipes I make, so I can't wait to try some more variations on these. I wanted to keep this first go from the book, so we followed Martha's suggestions to the T. I'd love to do an almond butter and banana version or maybe almond butter and fig jam. Ashley from Sweet & Natural did an awesome job using more wholsesome ingredients when she conquered these bars, too. I'd better go write some of these ideas down before I forget...Enjoy!


Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies 2001

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups strawberry jam, or other flavor
2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment, and coat inside of pan with flour; set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with offset spatula. Using offset spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Bake until golden, about 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

31 comments:

  1. These are right up my alley and I will definitely be making them. I hope you get your bakery opened!

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  2. oh Hayley how you kill me with your baked goods. I am all about the pb & j be it in bars or cookies and sammies. I love the topping on this, the best.

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  3. Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat. Yum yum yum!

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  4. YUM!!! Anything with PB is perfect to me. These look awesome.

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  5. omg I want these right now! they were sooo good I think I had like 6 of them on Easter.

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  6. Hayley, I don't even like PB& J but these sound good and look even better. Speaking of better...I have some almond butter how do I mix it with bananas to come up with something similar? Thx!

    Good luck with the bakery idea! We need a good one here in Cent FL so I can quite baking and just buy it. I think it will help with the weight gain problem I seem to have! Ha!
    ~ingrid

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  7. Sounds like an instant hit! PB+J is just such a classic combo, and these bars look really great. :)

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  8. Your bars look irresistible! I'm glad Martha's recipe worked--some of them don't!

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  9. oh these look so wonderful. I have made them before and now you have me wanting to make them again!

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  10. Sweet Inspirations... what a great name!!!! Are you serisouly getting started with this? That's SO exciting!!! I wish you not only the best of luck, but lots of sweet inspiration to create delicious concoctions (OK, that was cheesy, but you get my point).
    These bars looks great. Good job at keeping them cohesive, every time I attempt them, they miserably fall apart :(

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  11. oh la la i clicked here from taste spotting because i thought "oh pb&j bars, paa-leaaaaaaaaaaseeeee thats sooooo Ina Garten, who is this chickpea" (which is funny because my first "internet food name" was chickpea chef) and then i saw your about me blurb and thought--hey wow! im 22 also, about to graduate (one week!) with degrees in history and french language,and you want a fitness center? i run marathons! we are very similar it appears....and btw, i love ina garten :)

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  12. I was totally thinking that I need to make PB&J bars just the other day, did you read my mind? They look delicious!

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  13. ok woman - it is official we think way to much alike.

    i have made these three times and have not gotten good pics of them.

    i have a bridal shower this weekend that i am making them for - so hopefully i get good pics this time.

    they are the best cookie bars EVER!

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  14. PB & J isnt my favorite but I'm loving the ideas you have for variations! Bananas, Fig jam...did you say honey already? I bet you could do one with honey.

    Also - I'm sure you could make this somehow using way less butter - 2 sticks is a lot for this!

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  15. Who needs bread when you have these!

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  16. I would eat couple pieces. This looks delicious.

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  17. YUM! Peanut butter jelly bars are right up my alley. They look wonderful!

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  18. I want it all! Let me know when you make them more nutritious, I'll probably down the whole batch in one sitting!

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  19. These are beyond amazing!

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  20. I am all over these!!! Going to make them this week and I cant wait. THanks for sharing.

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  21. This recipe looks and sounds absolutely amazing! I've been thinking about trying to make some pb&j bars for a while so this couldn't have come at a better time!

    Though I might need to check out the healthier version given the recent increase to my waistline!

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  22. I've never been a fan of the pb/jam combo, but maybe i could get behind it in a square. Yes, i think i really could.

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  23. Ill try these this weekend, perhaps Ill play around with different jellies. Figtreeappetizers

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  24. Your bars look delicious, and so many options come to mind. When you mentioned banana, I thought of macadamia. But, the original looks great just as is too.

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  25. Id love some of these with my coffee.. they look outrageously delicious!

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  26. I've never been a PB&J sandwich girl, but when I see it in bar form it immediately becomes appealing. These sound great!

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  27. I've seen a bunch of PB&J cupcakes but never bars. These are making happy and I haven't even tried them yet.

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  28. PB&J has to be one of my favourite sandwiches (and something I'll eat for dessert). This sounds like a great idea.

    Also love the name you've come up with for your future bakery. Good luck!

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