Monday, September 21, 2015

Peanut butter and jelly shortbread bars

A recent potluck had the theme of "school lunches," and I decided to riff on peanut butter and jelly. I knew I wanted to do shortbread because shortbread is delicious. After poking around a bit, I found two recipes that I wanted to hybridize: blackberry jam shortbread bars from Stuck on Sweet and peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread from the View from the Great Island, which I made a few years ago. I substituted peanut butter for some of the butter in the shortbread bars and cut the sugar to make the ratio a little more like the peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread.

I think this recipe turned out pretty well. I personally wouldn't have minded a little less jelly for the filling and a little more peanut butter in the shortbread.

Peanut butter and jelly shortbread bars

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used one with peanuts as the only ingredient; you may want to adjust sugar and salt if you use one with sugar and/or salt)
generous pinch of salt (or more if you like)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam or other jam/jelly of your choice

Make the shortbread: Cream butter and sugar in a mixer or by hand. Add the peanut butter, salt, and vanilla extract and mix until combined and a bit fluffy. While mixing slowly, add the almond meal and flour in small batches. Separate into two roughly equal halves. Press one half into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Save the other half in the fridge. (Note: my dough didn't come together the way shortbread dough usually does, but because I was just pressing it into the pan, it was fine. I think if I had used less flour, it would have, so if you want to make these into regular cookies, you may want to reduce the flour.)
Bake shortbread at 325 for about 20 minutes or until edges are a bit brown. Remove from oven and spread jam over shortbread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle remaining dough over the top. Put back in the oven and bake until topping is browned, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars once it's cooled.