Monday, January 10, 2011

When hoarding can be a GOOD thing - Cookie #93: PB&J Bars

In a past life I was a coupon-er.  I loved the thrill of clipping dozens of coupons from two different Sunday papers and matching them up with local grocery ads.  It was such a rush watching the total on my bill drop as the cashier scanned coupon after coupon after coupon.  Even the impatient stares of the customers behind me in line couldn't take away the euphoric feeling of saving almost 75%.

This brings me to the story of the peanut butter.  Peanut butter went on sale.  There was a coupon.  A really good coupon.  Actually several really good coupons which I hoarded in my pink coupon pouch.  I think I ended up getting the peanut butter for around 25 cents a jar. 

The problem?  I ended up with SEVEN jars of peanut butter.  At the time it was just my husband, myself and a non-peanut butter eating newborn in our home.  What on EARTH could we do with seven jars of peanut butter?  I immediately started trying out recipes. 

Peanut butter cake. 
Peanut butter frosting. 
Peanut butter fudge. 
Peanut sauce for chicken satay. 
Peanut butter cookies. 

I remembered having this awesome peanut butter bar cookie at a craft fair earlier that year and I decided I'd try to recreate it.  The cookie itself was vegan, but since at the time I knew little of vegan cooking, I chose to make them the "regular" way  (regular to me that is).  The bar cookie I remember consisted of this creamy peanut butter base.  The sweetness stuck to the roof of your mouth.  It was topped with a strawberry jam - and a good, homemade strawberry jam, at that. I could taste the chunks of fruit.  The whole thing was topped with an oatmeal crumble that was divine. 

So, armed with my seven jars of peanut butter, I got to baking. 

I was quite pleased with the results.  I opted to use plain old Welch's grape jelly instead of making my own strawberry jam.  Partly because I love grape jelly with peanut butter (currant jelly, too!) but, mostly because I was too lazy.  I had a newborn, remember?

So, here they are in all they're glory - rich, peanut buttery and oh so delicious. 

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut up into chunks
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 - 1 cup grape jelly (or your jelly of choice)
1/4 cup chopped, roasted/salted peanuts

Combine all ingredients, except jelly, in a large bowl until well incorporated.
Press half the mixture into a buttered 13x9" pan.
Spread jelly over the top until even.
Sprinkle with remaining dough mixture & chopped peanuts.
Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Let cool before slicing into bars.

PS - I have a picture of these scrumptious treats but realized it's saved on my office computer - not my laptop.  I'll update with a yummy photo tomorrow.

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