Secret Recipe Club – PB & J Bars

Its time for Secret Recipe Club again – I love being part of this fun club! My favorite part of the SRC is assignment day – I love when I get that e-mail in my inbox with the link to the blog that I get to choose my recipe from. I also love that all of my assignments have all come from blogs I have never been to before, it’s really a great opportunity to find some fabulous bloggers out there and some delicious recipes. If you are not familiar with exactly how this club works, you can stop by the website and learn all about it – maybe even join in! Basically you are (secretly) assigned a blog to checkout, browse through their recipes, choose one to make and blog about it. It’s a lot of fun!
This month my assignment was Cheese Curd in Paradise.  Ashley is the voice behind this great blog and not only does she participate in Secret Recipe Club but she also participates in an Improv Cooking Challenge and Moms Crazy Cooking Challenge – Wow!!
Ashley has a lot of great recipes on her blog and I came real close to making her Strawberries and Cream Muffins but in the end I went with these delicious Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars.
Tiny confession – you see I am “that mom.”  You know the one – your kid comes over to my house to play with my kids and instead of pulling out some cookies and milk I break out the mixer and start whipping up some homemade treats for everyone.  Yup – that’s me.  Neighbor boy was over again and the kids were playing so nicely so I ran over to Ashley’s blog to see if I could find something for them.  I found these bars and knew they would be perfect and you know what…they were!
I made one minor change – the recipe called for two sticks of butter and I just couldn’t bring myself to add two entire sticks so I did a quick search online and found a bunch of replacements for butter in recipes.  I saw that you could use a ripe banana as a replacement and I decided to give it a try.  The banana added great flavor (not too much though) to the bars and you didn’t miss the butter.  I am going to use this trick again!….enjoy!!!
recipe adapted from Cheese Curd in Paradise
What you need:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ripe banana
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups jelly or jam (I used grape jelly)
some peanuts for topping (I used a small amount b/c I didn’t have many left in the house)
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar along with the banana on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the cake pan and spread to cover the bottom.
Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool and cut into squares.