I love peanut butter; I could eat it straight from the jar by the spoonful (and on occasions when my self control has been less than steely, I have done just that). I also love jam; home made if possible, ideally my Nana's bramble and apple jelly.
So when I have peanut butter, and jam/jelly in the house, I can either making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (and let's never underestimate just how gorgeous that can be), or, if I am prepeared to defer gratification for an hour or so, I can bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.
These tickle the tastbuds in so many ways; they are sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth and altogether one of my favourite things to bake. The original recipe came from Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, and I haven't changed it in any way, apart from converting the cup measurements to grams, so thank you Ina!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
130g butter (+ more for greasing tin)
160g caster sugar
1 large egg, lightly whisked
250g smooth peanut butter
240g plain flour (+ more for dusting tin)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
300g jelly or seedless jam
200g salted peanuts, chopped (or place in freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin)
Preheat oven to Gas 4/180c
Butter and flour tin, base measurement approx 30cm long x 20cm wide, 4cm deep (I use a standard enamel roasting tin)
Using a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is plae, and light in texture.
Add the egg, and the peanut butter, and mix again until thoroughly combined.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and add slowly to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until well combined, but do not overmix. (The dough will be rather soft.)
Divide the dough in half, and, taking the first half, tear off small pieces and scatter them evenly over the base of the tin. Then, dipping your fingers in some plain flour to stop them sticking, pat out the dough until it is evenly spread in a single layer over the base. (The first time you do this, you will be convinced there isn't enough dough to get right over the base, but there should be, it's just a little fiddly to work with).
Next, spread the jam evenly on top of the dough, avoiding spreading it to the very edges (if the jam sticks to the side of the tin during baking, it is harder to cut the bars, and harder to scrub the tin clean!).
Now take the second half of the dough, and breaking off small pieces, scatter it evenly over the jam. This time you wont be able to spread it out, as it will slide on the jam, but you will mange a reasonably even covering, even if tiny bits of jam are showing through here and there.
Scatter over the chopped peanuts. I sometimes sprinkle a little extra salt on top too, but that is entirely optional.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden on top and smelling strongly of peanuts!
Allow to cool competely in the tin, then cut into bars, as big or small as you like.