Peanut Butter and (Boysenberry) Jam Bars are a delicious shortbread crumble bar with the flavors of everybody’s favorite sandwich!
Can I just say that the awkward ‘reconstruction’ period between Christmas and the New Year is not my favorite? Like so many oldest daughters I have a touch of OCD, and the chaos makes me crazy. The house is a mess, all the newly opened presents haven’t yet found their final resting places, and for the sake of my family I have to resist the pressing urge to dump the tree and all its falling needles out onto the curb. Not to mention I’ve completely lose track of what day of the week it is.
Like right now for instance, I know I should be posting a fabulous New Year’s Eve cocktail or appetizer, and here I am playing with peanut butter and jam.
But we did get some beautiful wild boysenberry jam as a gift, and in my defense, the holidays bring out the gluttony in everybody around here. No sooner have they picked the Christmas ham clean and eaten all the candy out of their stockings than they come prowling around the kitchen for something more. I had no choice, these bars had to be made. The peanut buttery shortbread and a really good jam makes such a winning combination. You can use any jam for this, but I think one on the tart side will work best. If you have a super sweet jam you can always add a little lemon juice to give it a kick.
- 1 cup (2 sticks, or 16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I like Jif)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 8 - 9 oz good quality jam (I used wild boysenberry)
- Set the oven to 350F
- Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with baking spray, and, if you like, line it with a piece of parchment paper with long ends so you can lift out the baked squares for easier cutting.
- Cream the butter and sugar together, along with the peanut butter, until everything is well combined and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla.
- Gradually mix in the flour until it is completely blended in and the dough is crumbly. Don't over-mix it.
- Press about 2/3 of the dough onto the bottom of the pan, covering the entire surface, and patting it gently down so it is evenly distributed. I like to use the back of a metal measuring cup to tamp the dough down and lightly flatten it.
- Spread the jam evenly over the surface of the dough. It's fine if the jam isn't completely covered.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the jam, using your fingertips to break up the dough into large crumbles.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, until lightly golden.
- Let cool slightly before cutting.
There’s something so perfect about crumble bars, I think they’d be my desert island dessert…as long as I could also bring along lots of milk!