Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 20, 2011


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
(from Ina Garten, adapted by Eats Well With Others

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.

34 comments:

Janet Johnson said...

I think you've perfectly defined "romantic dinner." :)

And wow, PB&J bars? I can't believe I haven't heard of these before. I'm loving your recipes!

Brownieville Girl said...

I'm impressed they made it to day 2!!!

I agree with you that the most romantic meal is one everyone will like :-}}}

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Spaghetti and meatballs is also very romantic because of the scene in Disney's "The lady and the tramp"!

Jess said...

Thanks for another great recipe! What a cute Valentine's Day with the family (love the sharing of poems)!

Valerie said...

I've been wanting to try Ina's recipe for these for such a long time!
They look delicious! And I can't think of anything more adorably romantic than p.b. & j. :D

Joanne said...

I'm so glad you made and liked these! I would consider these the perfect V-Day treat, but that's because I'm a peanut butter fanatic. I'm glad to hear you had such a sweet V-Day...even better because you got to spread out the love over TWO days!

Medeia Sharif said...

I don't like peanut butter by itself, but I love it in baked goods.

I have a blog award for you.

Beth said...

Kika, you're so right about the romance of spaghetti and meatballs!

Valerie, knowing your love of peanut butter, you would adore these bars.

And thanks for the inspiration, Joanne! These were great!

Beth said...

Medeia, I'm not usually a fan of PB either, but it was awesome in these bars. I'll be sure to check out your blog! Thanks!

Heather said...

Hi Beth! I wanted to stop by and say "thank you" for visiting my blog! I am so glad that you did because it seems as though we may have a lot in common. You see, I am also a chauffeur and a baker. I started my blog in July too! I loved your comment about the romance of spaghetti and meatballs...it is one of the few meals that everyone in my family will eat too. And, I almost forgot....I love Ina Garten too! I look forward to visiting your blog again! :)

comfortablydomestic.com said...

Your definition of a romantic dinner is a perfect dinner in my house. There is just something so satisfying about a meal that everyone will eat!

Barbara Bakes said...

Sounds like a lovely Valentine's day. I don't think these scrumptious treats would make it a second day at my house.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

What a wonderful family Valentine's Day! I love the idea of doing poems for each other. I'll have to try and convince my husband to participate in that next year. My daughter would love it, as she writes poems all of the time. Great idea, Beth! Thanks for sharing with us.

Belinda said...

These are sinfully delicious!! How sweet - the poems are a great idea. My poetry is kinda limited to Roses are Red variety....

Claudia said...

When the kids were younger we always did special Valentine's Dinner taking into account what everyone would eat. This is so perfect and Lady and the Tramp certainly found spaghetti romantic! The bars are the sweetest ending to your lovely eve.

Carol said...

They look so good! And what a perfect Valentine's dinner, special indeed!

Pacheco Patty said...

These bars would not be safe any where in my vicinity! I love peanut butter baked into cookies or bar cookies- I would have loved these for Valentine's day:)

Lindsay said...

I love that you share poems with each other. What a nice and thoughtful way to celebrate the day. And, I have been eyeing those bars in Ina's cookbook, but have yet to make them. Glad you liked them!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

I think it's safe to say that Peanut Butter would beat Chocolate in a Street Fight, any day. I love it when people do a PB+J sandwich outside of a sandwich!

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

Yum! I have had my eye on a recipe like this for a while now...they look delicious! :)

Barbara Kloss said...

You're going to KILL my diet!! :) Good.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I saw these peanut butter and jelly bars on Joanne's blog and was as enticed as I am right now! These are perfect for sharing with your loved ones, and nothing beats a classic combination like PB&J.

Emma said...

Sounds like the perfect Valentines Day dinner :)

Grapefruit said...

I'm with Chiara - spaghetti & meatballs makes me think of lady & the tramp.
My daughter and I are the huge PB&J fans in our house so I think we'd love these bars!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Beth!!!
I didn't mean to neglect you! Please investigate uploading Feedburner to your site so that I can subscribe by e-mail - I never get to my feeds or readers. Really, ever. I try - so I have just subscribed to all sites to have new posts delivered into my mailbox... thus, I missed you AGAIN!!!!
I think anything homemade is a labour of love - be it chocolate or peanut butter - or SOUP!
This recipe looks really yummy and I would feel pretty loved if someone baked this for me!
:)
Valerie

Katerina said...

This is such a lovely treat for celebrating Valentine's. It is so nice to celebrate with your family that day!

Monet said...

This does sound perfect...and it makes me eager for the day that Ryan and I will have children. I know I will try to make V-day as special as my mom made it for me! Thank you for sharing your words and this recipe. And thank you for your kind thoughts on my own blog. I appreciate you!

Mary said...

It sounds like you had a perfect Valentine's Day. Your dinner sounds great and the peanut butter and jelly bars at, as Ina would say, to die for. They really look good. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

laxsupermom said...

Yum! We have that same dilemma. 4 is too early, and 9 is too late. The bars sound delicious! Thanks for sharing.

Rita said...

I do love your description of a perfect Valentines's meal. Sound like you really love your family. Peanut butter and jelly in a bar just has to be good.
Rita

Sweet And Crumby said...

I totally agree that the perfect Valentine's Day dinner when you have kids is just a meal that everyone will eat. Win, win. We made homemade pizza. Your bars look so yummy. Have a great week, Beth!

shaz said...

You had me at PB&J and set my heart racing :) Sounds like a lovely Valentine's day.

Sue said...

Peanut butter and jelly in bar form? Can't get much better than that!

Amie Kaufman said...

Wow, all I had to see was the picture to know I was sold.

I'm now 3-4 weeks away from having an oven that works, with the renovations nearly finished. My husband thinks it's hilarious that I keep showing him recipes from your blog I'm going to trial when it's installed!

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