A common problem with home cooks like myself is a love of cookbooks. In this day and age, I get more of my recipes online, yet I can't help but be addicted to cookbooks. It's the feeling of holding the book in your hands, skimming through pictures and recipes, and displaying it on your specially reserved cookbook section of the bookshelf. Not to mention I get 40% off cookbooks at my job, which makes it that much harder to resist adding to my collection. I know that it is easy to have an excessive collection of unused cookbooks, though, so I try my best to exercise restraint.
One way I curb my cookbook addiction is my checking out cookbooks from the library. I can't go into the library without heading for that section, just to see what's on the shelves. There is usually something that catches my eye, and I'll take a couple books home at a time to explore in depth. This recipe came from Barefoot Contessa at Home, which I have really enjoyed looking through. I've tried out a couple of the recipes, and as usual, Ina Garten has pulled together a collection of reliable, approachable, and delicious recipes. I thought these bars were perfectly buttery, without being overly rich. The flavor really did remind me of a sweet version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. These came together so easily, and I think they would make a great snack for kids and grown ups alike!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
From Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten
* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
* 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the 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 all ingredients are combined.
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.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.