Our three-year-old just started preschool, and with the move from daycare to real school, comes a packed lunch. When I was a kid my mom packed a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, carrots (I only ate a few), and 2 Chips Ahoy cookies. These days such a lunch sounds scandalous from the peanuts to dessert! Of course I think I turned out just fine, and I always love a PBJ.
My son’s lunch has been a smorgasbord of snacks including hummus & pita chips, pineapple, watermelon, cucumbers and even homemade focaccia. It’s a little of this and that. Inspired by back-to-school, I baked peanut butter and jelly blondies that were salty & sweet with honey-roasted peanuts and strawberry jam. Don’t worry, I didn’t pack them in my son’s lunchbox!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies
Adapted from Bon Appetit February 2014
Makes 16 bars
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter melted, plus more for pan
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon chopped honey-roasted peanuts
Flaky sea salt (I used Maldon.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and grease with butter.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Dollop the jam on top followed by the peanuts.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let the bars cool before slicing them into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container.