April 2nd is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. This gives us the chance to recycle our gag from National Hot Dog Day–which is, every day is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day when you’re a mom. This day, however, gives us an excuse to fool around in the kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating with the classic all-American sandwich, of course. The crunchy or smooth texture of the peanut butter–together with the favorites of grape or strawberry jam in between two slices of bread–is pretty darn iconic. Anyone ever hard that it really started during World War II as a popular choice for the soldiers, and soon became a staple in family homes? That’s what we heard. [photo via flickr]
But while the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the most preferred comfort food, the two ingredients can be mixed together to create other delicious treats–such as these Peanut Butter and Jelly Oat Bars. Some simple ingredients will make for a moist and delicious treat that can be taken along for a picnic, or used as a great new dessert after dinner. And don’t forget that using different flavors of jelly flavors can keep giving a whole new taste to this recipe…
¾ cup Crisco butter flavor shortening, plus additional for greasing
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup strawberry preserves
1/3 cup water
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Grease 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine Crisco shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar. With an electric mixer, beat ingredients on medium speed until well blended.
Combine salt, baking soda and all-purpose flour. Gradually add to creamed mixture at low speed. Beat until well blended.
Stir in oats with a spoon and mix until well blended. Stir in water, one tablespoon at a time.
Press half of the dough into the bottom of the greased baking pan and spread with strawberry preserves.
Flatten small amounts of the remaining dough between hands. Place on preserves and arrange so the dough sections are touch. Fill in any spaces with dough to completely cover preserves.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and the edges are slightly brown. Do not overbake!
Cut the bars while they are still warm into 2 x 2 ¼ inches.