breakfast · Healthy Baked Goods · Snacks · Sweets · vegan

Easy Peanut Butter & Jam Squares

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Committing to going vegan has made me think a lot about childhood comfort foods.  Not because I’m pining away for them, but because I am determined to continue eating them – just veganized! I’ve been dreaming up ways to make a vegan mac n’ cheese all week.  Mmmmmmm…. cheeeeesssseeee…. I promise to share as soon as I’ve nailed it! How about you?  What are some of your childhood favorites?  Whether or not you are vegan, have you adapted any of these recipes over the years?  Made them healthier?  Unhealthier? Hehe, I won’t judge!

Peanut butter and jam is one of my favorite comfort foods, and luckily, I don’t need to do a thing to it to make it meet my new eating habits.  Pair it with a tall glass of creamy almond milk and I’m in heaven.  So I found myself wondering, how can I make this into a dessert??? The answer was to keep it simple – a peanut butter cookie dough and a generous layer of jam.

This is a fun recipe to have in your pocket (so to speak) as it is so simple and easy, yet so delicious and unique! It all comes together in the food processor, making it a one-bowl wonder, and I’m always very happy when there are fewer dishes to do.

During the trials for this recipe, I initially used a very thin layer of jam, but it didn’t do the trick.  The peanut butter overpowered it and you could barely taste the strawberry goodness.  In one batch, I had a bit of leftover dough, so I made some thumbprint cookies out of it.  Tasting those cookies, with their middles filled with a generous dollop of jam, made me realize I needed to go big or go home with this ingredient.  So when you’re measuring out the 3/4 cup worth I called for here, just take a deep breath and trust me.  It works! Oh, and if you feel more like having thumbprint cookies than squares, those work great too! Just roll the dough into balls, make a little indentation in each, fill with jam and bake for 12 minutes 🙂

Ingredients

(Makes 16 squares)     Prep time: 10 minutes     Baking time: 25 minutes

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use all-natural peanut butter. The other stuff has additives like sugar and cornstarch that will alter the results of this recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup jam (I prefer strawberry but feel free to use your favorite)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, letting about 2-3 inches of extra parchment paper hang out on two sides. You will need this later to lift the cooked square out of the dish.
  2. Place the oats in the food process and blend until they resemble coarse sand.  Add the flour and sugar, and blend just until combined.
  3. Add all the other ingredients to the food processor (except the jam) and pulse 8-10 times until the dough comes together in big clumps.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of the dough.  Put the rest in the prepared baking dish and press it down into the bottom of the dish.  Push down firmly to compact it well.
  5. Spread the jam evenly over the dough in the baking dish.  Crumble the reserved 1/2 cup of dough over the layer of jam.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and firm.
  6. Let the cake cool in the baking dish, on a wire rack, for at least 30 minutes before cutting.  These squares are quite crumbly and will fall apart if cut while still warm.  Use the parchment paper to gently lift the entire square out of the pan, and place on a cutting board.  Cut into 4 rows, and then cut each row into 4 pieces to get 16 squares in all.

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3 thoughts on “Easy Peanut Butter & Jam Squares

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