Were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a regular staple for you as a kid? Then you’re going to love these.
This recipe has been in my bookmarks for a while, but it wasn’t until I tasted the PB&J truffle from Ethel’s last week that I was reminded how great the peanut-butter-jelly-chocolate combo is. I think this recipe sat unused for so long because it’s a no-bake bar, and I’m always a little hesitant with those. They often have an odd texture and have to be kept in the fridge. I don’t really like eating things with an odd texture because… who does? Also, it seems like certain foods lose flavor when they’re too chilled.
Perhaps it’s due to the egg that gets cooked into this bar’s chocolate base layer, but the cookie layer has a nice, normal cookie texture. The strong flavors of each layer even hold up if tasted chilled & straight out of the refrigerator.
However, they may be good, but they’re not perfect. I guess that because they were “no-bake” I assumed that meant they are less work than baked treats. They’re not. With four layers to prepare, they are going to keep you busy for a little while. I made the mistake of trying to multitask and cook dinner while making these and it didn’t pan out so well. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on the chocolate base mixture while it’s on the stovetop. I think my heat got a little too high, causing the butter to separate from the rest of the mixture. I suddenly had a clumpy chocolate mess surrounded by a pool of melted butter. I scrapped it and started over again with lower heat and everything worked out just fine. Note to self: you are not a master chef just yet.
I don’t think that these are quite a fancy enough treat to be served at a dinner party but they’re perfect for kids or a sweet afternoon snack. And they definitely take the classic PB&J combination beyond the walls of white bread.
For a fun, edible trip down memory lane to the time of crustless sandwiches and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunch boxes (at least that’s what I had on mine), enjoy these Peanut Butter & Jelly Chocolate Bars!
Recipe after the break!
I made a couple small changes to the original recipe:
- I thought the PB filling was a little sweet, so I added more PB.
- Also added more jelly, because… who doesn’t want that? Note: if you use anything besides grape jelly, Taste Tester will have words with you (he’s a PB&J purist). Enjoy!
Sarah’s PB&J Chocolate Bars
modified from Food Network
makes 3 dozen bars
For the base:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 sleeve saltines (40 crackers, regular or whole wheat), finely crushed
3/4 cup finely chopped roasted lightly salted peanuts
For the filling and glaze:
1/3 cup grape jelly
7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
1/3 + 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Make the base: Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending it over the sides. Put the butter in a medium heatproof bowl; position the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Once the butter melts, stir in the sugar and cocoa. Whisk in the egg; cook, whisking, until the mixture is warm and the consistency of hot fudge, 6 minutes. Remove from the heat; mix in the saltine crumbs and peanuts. Press the crust into the pan. Set aside the saucepan of water.
2. Make the filling: Spread the jelly over the crust in the pan; place in the freezer for a few minutes. Beat 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter, the peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until light. Spread over the jelly layer; return to the freezer while you make the glaze.
3. Place the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a heatproof bowl; set over the pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat; stir until smooth. When cool but still runny, spread the glaze over the chilled peanut butter layer. Freeze for another 30 minutes.
4. Use the foil flaps to remove the bars from the pan; cut into squares while still cold. Serve cold and keep leftovers refrigerated.