Peanut Butter and Jelly bars

There are some very strange combinations of food…that I sometimes wonder how people come up with…..until I got to witness one such discoveries, right under my nose. 🙂

It was one of those days when my son and I were waiting eagerly(vazhi mel vizhi vaithu…)for my husband to come home from work. Me, because I get to hand over the babywatch duty over to my husband and get to the gazillion different things I always have on my list. My son, probably to see his dad. And in comes daddy, says he is really hungry and as I offer him something, he passes it, and goes to a the peanut jar. He then stops at the fruit basket, takes a banana, peels it, stuffs a peanut in the banana, and takes a bite out of it. He does the same for every bit of banana, savoring every bite…even as I stand in awe…wondering how on earth he thought of it. And he says…this is divine…two things I love, and so easy to put together. He grins with pride… his invention…as if he was Newton who discovered gravity.

And there it was….my answer to what I would make for my husband’s birthday.  Something peanutty, that combined fruit with it. And, I didn’t want it to be a frosted cake…we are not big fans of frosting. I took all the cookbooks I had, and as I flipped over the book ‘Barefoot Contessa at Home’, I saw the recipe for these Peanut Butter and Jelly bars by Ina Garten.

Who says you have to make a cake, for a birthday…I decided to break some rules….And I am glad I did and made these bars..which turned out awesome…stuck a candle in one of these bars..and sang happy birthday…And watched with joy, as my dear spouse wolfed down 3 of these bars at one shot.. 🙂

The original recipe made a a whole I halved the recipe. And I substituted boysenberry preserves for the raspberry jam, because thats what I had on hand. This adapted recipe gave me 16 bars, that were more than enough for the both of us.

Now, on to the recipe..


1 stick room temperature butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup boysenberry preserves
1/3 cup salted peanuts coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 X 9 square baking dish, with foil with a little bit of a overhang on both sides. Grease and flour the foil and the sides of the pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until well combined. Add the peanut butter and mix until the mixture is homogenous. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour to the peanut mixture and mix until just combined.

Spread two-thirds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan.

Then spread the jam evenly over the dough.  Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. It’s ok if the jam is not covered fully. The dough will spread when it bakes. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and press lightly.

Bake this for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool completely. Impatient as I am, I let it cool for a little bit and stuck it in the freezer. Cut into small squares. I got 16 bars total.

Verdict: Awesome…I do not like peanuts, but I loved these bars. I shared these with some of my friends and they loved it too. They were not too sweet or too buttery, so it was perfect for my palate. Something about it reminded me of a fig newton bar.

I am sending these yummy treats to ‘Sugar High Fridays – Bar None’ event hosted by Susan. Sugar High Fridays is an International Sweet Tooth blogging event started by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. I looked at some of the previous themes at SHF and I am glad that this month it is something that I can acutally pull off.

I am also sending this to the ‘Weekly Bake Off’ event by Champa and also  the ‘Baking from the Book’event started by Champa and hosted at VeggiePlatter this month.

Thanks to Susan’s suggestion, I am now sending this peanutty dish to ‘My Legume Love Affair – 24’. For some reason, I kept thinking savory dishes for legumes(duh!). It always helps when someone helps you look at things from a different perspective, who better to do that than Susan who is the inventor of this great event.

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  1. Growing up, I was never too fond of P&J sandwiches, a staple of the “American” kid’s diet. These, however, would bring out the kid in me no matter my age. : }

    Thanks, Denny, for your great SHF recipe.

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