Saturday, January 12, 2008

Brown Bag Cookies


In high school my friends used to mock me because my lunches were so predictable. I almost always brown-bagged it and in the fall I'd bring a peanut butter and jam sandwich and an apple. In the winter, as the good apples disappeared and got replaced by the mealy ones, I'd switch to peanut butter and jam sandwiches and an orange. For a sleep-deprived teen trying to get out the door in the morning, there's nothing easier to slap together than peanut butter and jam. Plus it doesn't need refrigeration and it's delicious.

You might think after all those peanut butter sandwiches I might have grown weary of peanut butter. Not so. It's one of my favorite food groups. In fact, replacing that whole dodgy "green things" portion of the food pyramid with peanut butter would work for me. Peanuts are legumes. Health food right there. Plus the oils they contain are terrifically beneficial. So it's even better! When you factor in how many flavors pair wonderfully with peanut butter, it's hard to think of a more versatile food.

But the classic is, of course, pb & j. How could you improve upon a classic? Well, turn it into a cookie! This cookie is the ultimate in take-me-back-to-childhood comfort food. It has the sweetness of jam sandwiched between two moist, peanut butter layers. They're fabulous the day you make them, but they continue to get moister and better as the jam sinks in. It's dangerous for me to have a pan of these sitting on the counter because I cannot walk by without taking a square. And then another one to keep the first square company.


Peanut Butter and Jam Bars
adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups creamy peanut butter, such as JIF (18 oz)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 cups favorite jam (I used blueberry here)
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, 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 well combined.

Sift together into a small bowl 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 two thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly. 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; the dough will spread when it bakes. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into 24 squares.

29 comments:

slowlikehoney said...

I was a fellow PB&J girl too.I used to be jealous of everyone else's cafeteria's lunch until I got a sneak peak into how they prep the cafeteria food. Safe to say, I never ordered anything from the lunch ladies again. I saw this recipe on the Food network and was gonna make it too but I wasn't sure how it'd turn out. Yours are beautiful!

Gigi said...

I'm still a PB & J lover! I just never tire of it and now in cookie form ...wow!

Anali said...

Oh those look good! I love PB&J too and even wrote a poem about it on my blog! : )

Melinda said...

I figured out fairly quickly you were a lover of peanut butter! (me too)
These sound so good. They sound good to take to work and share the calories with the skinny girls.
I found a site that sold Welch's Grape Jelly. I ordered 6 jars. This was 8 years ago. I just found 4 jars in the back of my cupboard loitering.
I guess I didn't miss it as much as I thought I did. I've moved on, and love apricot and peach jam more.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ah, Lynn, I don't need these.
Both times I was pregnant I so looked forward to having somebody to eat Peanut Butter with. Didn't work with the first one, it did with the second! Think I'll have to make these for my Wally Bear.

JEP said...

I can eat something peanut butter every day! I like your choice of jam, too!

Peabody said...

My husband eats a pb and j every day for lunch. I think I would like it in cookie form much better!

Dianne said...

Ah yes, Jif, your life would not be complete without it!

Ellie said...

Those do look quite divine! I'll never tire of the pb&j combo, so I know I'll absolutely love these!

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

Deborah said...

I've always said that if I had to eat the same thing day after day, it would always be a peanut butter sandwich. I like them with jelly or honey, and I never get tired of them. I bet these little treats are just as good!!

Marcia said...

So good!

Emiline said...

Oh, I've made these! I loved them. I love "The Contessa", as well. I feel like making these again.

You know what? I'm still thinking about those Turkish delights you made. Wouldn't that be cute for Valentine's Day?

SteamyKitchen said...

Andrew loves PBJ. Nathan just scrapes off the J. i like PBJs with bananas smushed in between!

The Cooking Ninja said...

Who could resist such delicious treats :) No one can turn away from peanut butter cookies except only if we are allergic to it. :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

These bars look wonderful, Lynn - may I show up for a cup of tea? ;)

Chelsea said...

those look so yummy.

Dee Light said...

Oh my!! My mouth is watering, really it is. I will be making these. Thanks.

Cheryl said...

I'm with you. I ate it religously in school and I still never get sick of in. Now its in cookie form?! Oh my.

kickpleat said...

whoa, these look amazing. i never liked peanut butter and jam sandwiches but i think i just might like these!

Jerry said...

Can I say, I like peanut butter and peach butter. Oh so yummy. Still not much of a jelly fan, but they look good. I'm sure I could fine people to eat them!

Rose&Thorn said...

My mom made me PB&J just about everyday of my school life, and I still love it. Thanks for all the lovely treats this holiday,my family have really been treated well - Thanks to you.

Katie said...

These sound amazing, wish I had one with me right now.

Kristen said...

oh how wonderful. My kids would love these!

Claire said...

I've looked at this recipe before and wanted to make it but decided not to because of all the butter and peanut butter. Could be an interesting one to "slim down" though it would still have lots of good stuff. Looks GREAT!!!!

Emily said...

Oh Lynn! They look incredible! I am so coming over!!! I love PB&J !!! They rock my world.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

and these are supposed to help my New Year diet how, exactly?! ;)

Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said...

I'm all grown up (supposedly), and I still eat PB&J almost every day! This cookie is genius.

Tartelette said...

These would be gone in 2 seconds in my house! Yum!

Contented Me (Kristin) said...

I love that - "to keep the first square company"... that's what I'm going to call it from now one when I have to take a few treats back to the sofa with me. Hysterical! And I can't wait to make these!