Monday, April 14, 2008

The Sandwich that Became a Dessert!

Hands down PB & J is my most favoritest sandwich ever! I don't know if it's the American childhood nostalgia that makes my heart thump for PB & J or if it's the gooey jelly layered on top of crunchy, chunky peanut butter. I remember back to my elementary school days when PB & J was a frequent visitor to my light pink Carebears lunch box. When the bell would ring for lunch I would get so excited because I knew what was waiting for me. PB & J is like a sweet lunch treat that could brighten up any horrible day at school. And while yes, there were times when my jelly was pile on a little too thick and would bleed through the bread, but who the heck cares! That just proves the bond that PB & J and I share, the poor sandwich's heart would bleed, crying out for my to let it free of the joyous Carebears and sink deep into the comfort of my tummy!

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.


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Rosie said...

Sounds a great dessert to me - how can it not be with yummy peanut butter and jelly :D

Rosie x