PB & J Bars
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups All Purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, large
2 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups of your favorite jam (I used 1/2 cup each of strawberry, apricot, and seedless raspberry
1 cup honey-roasted peanuts (or regular salted peanuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9" x 13" pan, and line it with parchment paper in both directions (length and width). Butter the parchment and dust with flour.
In the bowl of a mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy--about 2 minutes.
With the mixer still running, add in the eggs and peanut butter. Mix for about 2 minutes, until combined.
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add in the vanilla extract. The dough will be quite thick.
Transfer two-thirds of the mixture to your prepared pan. Spread the dough out evenly and gently but firmly press it down so it's of relatively even thickness all over.
Using a spatula, spread the first half-cup of jam onto one third of the dough, then do the same with the other jams until the whole pan of dough is completely covered.
Crumble the remaining dough, that you'd set aside, evenly over the top of the jam. Over that, evenly sprinkle all of the chopped nuts.
Bake until golden, for 45 to 60 minutes. If the bars are browning too quickly at any point, cover them lightly with foil. Cool them in the pan on a rack.
When they're cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan, and refrigerate the whole thing, uncovered, for about one to two hours. Lift the chilled bars out of the pan by lifting the parchment sheets up. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into small squares, about 1.5" to 2" in size.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes about three-dozen bars.