Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nutella PB&J Bars

I know it’s been a long time, and I do apologize for that. First it was Christmas; have you ever noticed how at the end of the year suddenly your job is all “oh snap, we’ve got to finish everything by the end of the year, everyone work overtime!” and you’re like “but I have to make pie!”  Yeah. Or cookies. Or linzer tarts, kolaches, whatever, I don’t judge.  So yeah, Christmas happened. And then for New Year my good friend was like “we’re gonna work out and lose weight!” and I was like “nyaaaaah, I don’t waaaant tooooo” but she made me do it anyway and you guys know me. I’m not going to bother baking something if I can’t make it with real butter and brown sugar. I mean, I promised you!

So it’s been a while. However, I’m back, and I have something for you to try, courtesy of Averie Cooks!

But first, here's a video of Waylon Jennings singing "Luckenbach, Texas". It's been stuck in my head for 2 days.


I’m gonna admit something right now that may come as a bit of a shock. Please don’t give up on me. I’m still a good person. It’s just that I… I’ve never really gotten aboard the Nutella train.

It’s just… meh. It’s not bad, certainly. But as my friends say, I wouldn’t kick a baby for it. Not that I’m in the habit of going around kicking babies for foodstuffs. Let’s just say that if some random guy came up to me while I was shopping the Williamsburg Outlet Mall for Naturalizer sandals and said “Hey, if you kick this infant I’ll give you 2 tablespoons of Nutella on one slice of whole grain toast with a piece of fruit and a glass of orange juice, a healthy part of this balanced breakfast” I’d be all “Put that baby away, mister!  I’m having chia seed oatmeal!”

So now I’ve got this jar of Nutella to use up* and it means that I see recipes and I think, hmm, I wonder if I can make that with Nutella. 

Voila. Nutella PB & J Bars.  Doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, but oh man…  Definitely worth the time it takes to put them together. 

To start you melt your “wets” (without the jelly). Then you add in your “dries” and mix it all up. This smush smelled incredible. I couldn’t resist and popped a little teaspoon-sized nugget in my mouth and you know what? You can eat this stuff raw. I just did. It was good. (Cookies? Cookies!) 

Then you mush about 2/3 into a pan, spread out a layer of jelly, and then crumble up and sprinkle the rest on top like streusel. I had a LOT to put on the top because I only measured about half instead of 2/3 to 3/4, so I panicked about the top layer being too thick and dotted on more jelly. Then just for funzies I slowly nuked a jar of peanut butter until it was runny and splattered that on top. Then just for more funzies I sprinkled on a small handful of Heath toffee bits because reasons that’s why.

I’ll give you the recipe because I love you so, but first a couple tips:
  1. Line your baking dish with parchment paper so you can just pull the whole thing out to cut after it’s cooled.
  2. Spray your measuring cup with PAM before filling it with Nutella, PB, or anything else sticky. It’ll pop right out. 
Okay, here’s the recipe. Love!

8x8 square pan, or another small casserole dish
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup of Nutella
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups of oats (I had quick oats on hand)
12oz jar of jelly/jam/marmalade (this was the smallest jar my grocery store sold)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter until it melts. I did mine in 30 second increments, so that I could make sure it didn’t burn.
  3. Add the Nutella and microwave again another 60 seconds or so. Should stir into a runny liquid.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients except your jam, and mix it up. This will be a dry, crumby mixture. Try not to eat too much of this now. It’s ok to taste test it though. All the best cooks taste test their food.
  5. Press 2/3 to 3/4 of the mix into an 8x8 pan. You’re making a base here, make it nice and firm.
  6. Spread out your layer of jelly, being careful not to pull up the base too much. Pull out a little bit of jelly at a time and spread it in a small area before moving on. You’ll use most of the small jar.
  7. Crumble the remaining dry mess in your hands like streusel topping—just a little bit of pressure so you have light crumbles—and scatter it on top.
  8. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. If you’re lucky, some of the jelly will be peeking out from the side and you can see it bubbling. If that doesn’t work, go by the smell test.**
  9.  Let cool completely before cutting in. Listen people, boiling strawberry jelly can cause some serious burns; you don’t want to mess around with that. I put my pan in the fridge overnight.

So, to close… It’s delicious. It’s very sweet. You want some. And a glass of milk. ‘Cause that’s how we roll.

*No babies were harmed in the procuring of this jar.
**Most baked goods are done baking after you smell it in the house. You know how when you bake a pie, the whole house will suddenly smell like pie? Or cookies; you’ll be sitting on your couch wondering when your cookies will be done when BAM, your nose is punched by the scent of cinnamon & nutmeg. And then just as suddenly the smell will fade, and that’s when your little bakey friend of happiness is done cooking. So when you smell it, it’s almost there. And when you stop smelling it, it’s done.

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