desserts

salted peanut butter + jelly blondies.

salted peanut butter + jelly blondies.

I think you know by now that I love peanut butter and jelly, always, in all ways.

I would have made these the second I saw them, but one thing held me back: they had “blondies” in the title. I’m not a fan of blondies, in general.

Most of them, I should say: they’re typically heavy things with an unsettling sweetness and major overtones of caramel, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Something about the name, as well: blondie inevitably calls to mind “brownie,” as if there were an actual comparison between a luscious fudge square which can’t decide if it’s dense cake or tender cookie and a cloying hunk of pasty brown sugar.

salted peanut butter + jelly blondies.

Am I being to hard on the blondie? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. They just seem like a classic case of good idea gone sideways; again, maybe that’s just me. So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attempt these given the almost inevitable disappointment combined with the defilement of one of my favorite ever flavor pairings.

But I tried them anyway, because I just had to know.

They’re brilliant: as it turns out, adding peanut butter to a hunk of pasty brown sugar transforms it into a big, fat, soft peanut butter cookie. Add jelly to it and it’s almost perfect; sprinkle the whole thing in honey-roasted peanuts and the end result everything you dreamed about when you were 8 years old.

salted peanut butter + jelly blondies.

So come on, kids in grownup bodies: get out a pan and make these, because you know you want to. I didn’t change much; mostly there was an obvious need for more jelly on top (2 tablespoons? who are you kidding, Bon Appetit?) and more crushed peanuts, because they just make it fun. It’s the perfect time of year to squeeze these in; late January was made for breaking that ridiculous “only eating organic green vegetables in 2016” goal you made.

Adapted, just barely, from this recipe right here from Bon Appetit.

Salted Peanut Butter And Jelly Blondies

Serves | 16 to 20 |

  • 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 dark or light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons Four Fruits Preserves (if you’ve never experienced four fruits, it’s a classic: a gorgeous combination of cherries, strawberries, red currents and raspberries.) Bon Maman is my widely-available go-to: they have a lovely strawberry jam if you’d rather go that direction.
  • 3 tablespoons chopped honey-roasted peanuts
  • Flaky sea salt (optional) for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 glass baking dish.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, peanut butter, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract; fold in dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, being sure to incorporate any dry patches. Pour batter into prepared pan. Dollop all over with preserves (and I mean all over; have a party with that jam!); sprinkle with chopped honey-roasted peanuts. Bake until a tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs, 45 to 50 minutes, checking in at the 40-minute mark to see how it’s going. Remove from oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt if using, and allow to cool to room temperature, which will take an obscene amount of time but it’s totally worth the wait.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Willow | Will Cook For Friends January 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I am mostly with you on the whole blondie thing — I think the worst part really is their association to brownies, though. When I ask people if they like white chocolate they go “no, because it isn’t chocolate!” Um… I didn’t ask if you liked white chocolate *or* dark chocolate. Why does it have to be just one or the other? I happen to like both, and for the record, actual white chocolate (not the crap you find in the baking aisle) actually IS made from cocoa, just a different part. (Sorry.)

    However, I do agree that blondies tend to be pasty, and pale in comparison to most other things I could choose to eat — but these sound completely different. I love me some peanut butter cookies, and bake that up like a cake with jelly on top? Sold. I’m also thinking that it should be a thing to say “with crunchy honey roasted peanuts on top” instead of “a cherry on top”, because I’d sprinkle those suckers on everything. Like my tongue.

  • Reply Brianne January 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I find if you call them cookie bars, few people object. And the few blondies I’ve tried all had a cookie-like texture, so the name change is justifiable, I think. I love how these sound. I’ve got a bunch of strawberry jam I made last summer that needs using and a serious hankering for a peanut butter cookie! It’s on.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats January 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    You know how I feel about PB&J, so you know I’m in love with these right now.

  • Reply John/Kitchen Riffs January 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Yup, I’m definitely a kid in a grown up body. So this are for me. Besides, I can never resist peanut butter (told you I’m a kid!). Good stuff — thanks.

    • Reply shannon May 6, 2016 at 8:32 am

      I feel like so many of us are kids in grown up bodies; peanut butter abounds in this little group i have here. 🙂

  • Reply Isabelle @ Crumb January 25, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Soooo… I actually kind of like blondies. You just need to think of them as delicious buttery butterscotch bars instead of a brownie’s less interesting relative. (Also, I like butterscotch, especially when it’s offset with a hefty sprinkle of salt.)
    And this PB&J version? Let’s just say it’s my jam. Bad-dum-TCHING!

  • Reply Ashley January 26, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I LOVE brownies (team fudgy all the way!), I love butterscotch, but sometimes caramel and most of the time blondies are just not executed well enough to meet my hopes and dreams. But these glorious PBJ dream blondies sound like they’ll become my dreams. Sigh.

  • Reply Matt January 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    What?! Predictably awesome looking, I bet they were soooo good!

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