I’ve passed into that phase of life where I’m chauffeur first and everything else second. When my husband and I were making Valentine dinner plans, we realized that the girls’ schedules were pretty busy on Monday night. In other words, we’d either enjoy a romantic 4 pm seating or we’d be falling asleep over our entrees. Neither seemed ideal, so we decided on a lovely Sunday dinner out and a family dinner on the 14th.
Here’s what makes a perfect Valentine’s Day at the Pollock house:
- exchanging poems (not mushy, more of the Roses are Red variety),
- dinner with my family after driving duties were complete,
- spaghetti and meatballs for four (because the most romantic meal is one that everybody will actually eat), and
- a perfect dessert to finish.
Most people think ‘chocolate’ for their valentine, but I went with peanut butter. And a happier set of loved ones you’ve never seen. These bars are wonderful, but they were even better on the second day after the flavours had a chance to mellow. Yes, ye of little faith, they did make it to the second day.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
2 sticks (one cup) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
18 oz (about 500 g) creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
18 oz (about 1 ½ cups) raspberry jam
2/3 cup salted peanuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13” cake pan or line it with parchment paper.
With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light yellow, about two minutes. With the mixer on low, add vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until combined.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour to the peanut butter mixture and mix until combined.
Spread 3/4 of the dough into the prepared cake pan, making sure it covers the entire surface evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Sprinkle with the peanuts. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.