And what about all the variations of PB & J that can be made! It's as simple as switching up the flavor of the jelly from Strawberry to Grape to Apricot...or the PB from crunchy or creamy. Sometimes a few bananas or raspberries would find their way in or maybe a shmear of Nutella. I've even stuck my PB & J in a skillet, and we played "grilled cheese" dress up, this being one of my most favoritest ways to have PB & J because everything gets melty and you take a bite of that gooey heaven and your head just falls in contempt.
Well since I love this little sandwich so much I decided to try out a new recipe I had seen which actually turns the infamous PB & J into a scrumptious cookie bar! I know I jumped for joy too! This recipe is courtesy of Martha Stewart and was actually one of her best so far. The base has a great solid cookie texture to it, but the jelly keeps it's sticky consistency (unless you're bad and you eat it straight out of the oven, and then it's a gooey bit of WOW!...but I wouldn't know that from experience). And the crunchy nuts on the top just add to the outrageous nutty flavor! I actually didn't have peanuts, but I did have mixed nuts, so I used those and the bars were amazing.
So here's to the love of my sandwich life, one of my best food friends...The PB & J!
Makes about 3 dozen
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.