Sunday, January 17, 2010

things that go together

When I think of things that go together I think of:

Salt & pepper
Batman & Robin
Chocolate & Vanilla
Fred & Ginger
Dooney & Burke
Bert & Ernie

And of course we cannot leave out the iconic classic American food pairing… Peanut Butter & Jelly!  I would imagine that unless you have some sort of food allergy you probably grew up on this combo stuck between two slices of white bread. Or in my case, wheat bread that was so dry and had so many seeds in it you couldn’t tell if the peanut butter was creamy or crunchy. In any case it is familiar.

I admit I haven’t had a PB & J sandwich in a while, but I do have this combination in bar form. I have had this recipe in my repertoire for several years now from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten. It is one of those old stand-by’s that seems to always receive many a praise.


PB & J Bars
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy or chunky whatever you have on hand
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) strawberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

1 comment:

  1. I used to sneak those PB&J sandwiches into the trash at school and only eat the chips and fruit snacks, but I love it now. I'm not sure how I feel about the bars, however.