A couple of months ago a mutual friend mentioned that Meri at The Food Yenta was thinking of making peanut butter & jelly cookies. I adore peanut butter and my favorite desserts don’t include chocolate (carrot cake, pecan pie…). I went home and immediately looked up some recipes, including Ina Garten’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars.
There was one problem: no one in my household eats peanut butter. In fact, they can barely stand the smell of it. And let’s just say it would not be safe to bake these bar cookies for myself!
Yesterday was my turn to deliver dinner to a local family through our PTA’s Caring Community committee, and I realized it was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe out. Plus, they fit in perfectly with my comfort food meal — Mrs. Jones’ Macaroni & Cheese with green beans on the side. I used grape jelly as a filling, because if you’re going to mimic a childhood sandwich you might as well go all the way.
If you are a chocolate person, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars will fall flat as a dessert. To me, they tasted exactly like a spoonful of peanut butter and jelly — there was nothing about the cookie that took that classic flavor combination to a higher level. So while they were very delicious, I can’t see making them again.
I wound up arranging a plate with 8 generous bars to give to the family. Thankfully, my friend and neighbor Sharon has a more peanut butter-accepting family, so she was happy to take a bunch. And I kept one for myself… oh come on, you know I did not eat just one. I did stop at two and a few nibbles, and the rest are going over to Sharon’s house, where she will safely freeze them for another day and keep me from temptation.