Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Cookies

I've been absent, MIA, AWOL. You get the picture. I had some technical problems with my computer but I'm happy to say I'm back up and running. How much did you miss me? Scale of 1-10...10! I knew it.

you like me. 

you really like me. 

I thought tis the season and all of that so I could post a series of cookie recipes.  Here's the thing, I love all cookies, 

I don't discriminate. 

I especially love bar cookies because they are so easy and require so few steps. Score! I realize these peanut butter and jelly bars are not traditional Christmas cookies but believe me people won't care. Also, stay tuned I have a few Christmas cookies in the queue. 

Oooooh. My mouth is watering just looking at this little guy. You know it's going to be good with the Barefoot Contessa authored this recipe. She's the Paula Dean of the north. Get the butter! 

First, I start by doing what all good cookie recipe starts with creaming the butter and sugar. 

Yummo. This is also the start to many a frostings. 

Add in the delicious peanut butter. 

I could stop here and lick the bowl. I have problems people. 

Add some eggs.

Finally, add the dry ingredients. Mix until crumbly. 

Now the fun part. Roll up your sleeves and press the 2/3 of the cookie dough into a cake pan. 

pat, pat, pat

get in there

Now open a jar of jelly, any will do, and empty it. 

It sounds something like a sluuurp. Delicious. 

Spread it around

Crumble the remaining cookie dough on top. 

Do you see why I love bar cookies so much. So fast and easy. Now with all the free time I had on my hands from not needing to roll and cut dough and not to mention the switching the pans out every 10 minutes or so, I had about an hour to bask in my genius. Err, I mean watch Toddlers and Tiaras or Alaska State Troopers or Extreme Couponing. People, don't judge my choices. 

Back to the cookies. A reminder of the delicious end result. 

I really hope you enjoy these as much as I do and share them with them friends. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1½ cups sugar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I halved her original recipe because I found it too peanut buttery) 
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1½ teaspoons kosher salt 
1½ cups raspberry jam or other jam (18 ounces) 
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar until it is a light yellow color. Add eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix. 
Sift dry ingredients. I find doing this over parchment paper makes it easy to dump into the mixer because of how flexible the paper is compared to sifting into a bowl. 
Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients on a low speed into mixer. Mix until just combined. 
Pat 2/3 of the dough mixture into greased 9x13 inch pan. I use the left over butter wrappers to grease the pan with the remaining butter on the paper. Spread the jelly over the pan evenly. Crumble and drop the remaining dough over top. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts if you would like but I typically omit this step. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool and enjoy! 

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