This recipe is an homage to Sarah with a nod to the Barefoot Contessa. Who knew that Ina Garten (M.B.A. George Washington University) worked for the U.S. Government as a nuclear energy budget analyst before (taking off her shoes) to own and operate a specialty foods shop?
Last month Sarah, who moved to Maine from NYC seven years ago, brought me one of her first jars of jam from strawberries she and her daughters picked. The gift inspired me to tweak one of Ina’s recipes. I’m not a PB&J gal, but making these bars using homemade jam and fresh ground organic peanut butter seemed like a good old fashioned summery idea. I was surprised years ago by the sweet satisfaction of our national sandwich when I finished half left by one of the boys: a distant delicious memory.
My suggestion: get out the wicker hamper, pack it with lobster or veggie roll-ups, carrot and celery sticks, chips, sparkling water, fresh strawberries, and a batch of GFPB&J Squares. Throw down the red and white gingham cloth, take off your shoes, and picnic. It’s August!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares (Serves 8-12)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large organic egg, room temperature
1 cup organic unsalted peanut butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) GF flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joe’s)
2 oz. GF oat flour (about 1/3 cup – remember you can process your own in a coffee mill)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1 cup jam (strawberry or your favorite flavor)
1/3 cup chopped unsalted organic peanuts
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8 x 8 inch square glass baking pan.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, and molasses in a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and continue to beat until fluffy. Add the peanut butter and continue beating until smooth.
3. In a medium sized bowl combine the flours, baking powder, xantham gum, and salt. Whisk to blend.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture and blend until it seems evenly incorporated and the dough comes together.
5. Pat 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Evenly spread the jam over the batter and evenly distribute the rest of the dough -it will spread in the oven covering most if not all the jam. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped peanuts followed by the “tinch” of ground salt.
6. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.