I made these yesterday and there was no way I could wait to share it with you. I’ve been wanting to make PB&J bars for awhile now but I was looking for the right recipe. For Christmas, I got three awesome new cookbooks. One of them is the America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook. I have the regular one and thought the healthy would make a great addition. Man, was I right! The recipes in the cookbook are fantastic! They did a great job at lowering fat and calories on a lot of popular dishes. The PB&J bars have less butter which cut down on the fat. As I was making them I was getting excited, everything was looking really good and smelling even better. It made the whole house smell like one big PB&J sandwich.
I regret only one thing…Not making a double batch! From now on I will be doubling the recipe and baking them in a 9×13 dish instead of an 8×8. When you make these, I recommend you do the same.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars:
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup raspberry jam (I used sugar free )
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, with enough overhang to be able to lift the bars out when cooked. Lightly coat the foil with vegetable oil spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
- In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter together using an electric mixer on medium speed until uniform and creamy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the egg, followed by the peanut butter and vanilla, until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Reserve half of the dough for the topping. Using damp hands, press the remaining dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake until the crust is light golden, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Meanwhile, stir the peanuts into the reserved dough for the topping.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and spread the jam evenly over the hot crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border on all sides. Drop small pieces of the topping evenly over the top. Bake the bars until the jam is bubbling and the topping is golden, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Let the bars cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil, cut into 16 squares, and serve.