Monday, March 5, 2012

PB&J bars with a healthy secret

Exhibit A: PB&J bars with blackberry jam filling. There's some spinach puree hidden in the filling too!

Exhibit B: Same dealie but with almond butter and raspberry. No spinach in this one. Weird hole is probably from an almond falling out.
I love anything with PB&J. This was conceptually inspired by Ina Garten but the recipe is completely different. I used a modified version of my flourless peanut butter cookies as the base for these; it's pretty much the same, I just added a bit of baking soda. I had recently come across Jessica Seinfeld's recipe for blueberry-oatmeal bars with spinach which gave me the idea to try adding spinach puree. It was completely undetectable with the blackberry filling, so if that sort of thing appeals to you, you can certainly add in some leafy greens! I eat so much greens in salads and side dishes that I probably wouldn't bother for myself. If you use spinach be sure to use a dark colored fruit jam such as blackberry, blueberry, or grape.

For the filling, you can use sugar-free jam, no-sugar-added jam, or you could possibly try chia jam. I have not made it with the chia jam so it isn't a solid recommendation, but it's certainly worth a shot. I would probably add 1-3 tsp arrowroot or other thickener to the chia jam if I made it for this recipe.

I baked this in a loaf pan because I generally prefer to make small batches of sweets! It makes about 6 bars.

Serves 6

  • 1 cup nut butter such as peanut or almond
  • 3/4-1 cup granular sweetener, real or artificial (i.e. palm sugar, date sugar, stevia in the raw, or Splenda). I would use 3/4 if the nut butter is unsalted, 1 cup if it's salted.
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (or more) jam (see description for suggestions)
  • 1/4 cup spinach puree (optional; make this by defrosting frozen spinach in the microwave, squeezing out excess water, and puree in the blender)
  • 1-2 oz (weight) nuts, roughly chopped (I used peanuts with peanut butter, almonds with almond butter)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. In an electric mixer, thoroughly combine the nut butter with granular sweetener and baking powder. Beat in the egg.
  3. Grease a standard loaf pan. Pack half of the nut butter dough into the bottom. The easiest way to do this is mound it in the middle, cover it with plastic wrap, and use your hands to evenly flatten it along the bottom.
  4. If using spinach puree, combine it with the jam. Spread the jam over the nut butter dough in the loaf pan. You may use more than the 1/4 cup jam if it looks like it needs more to cover adequately.
  5. Use the tines of a fork to rake the remaining dough into crumbles. Sprinkle it over the jam, then sprinkle chopped nuts over that.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool thoroughly before serving.


Alexandra said...

These sound so delicious! I am definitely bookrmarking this to make in the future! :)

Erica said...

Alexandra, let me know if you try them! Love the title of your blog BTW :)

Ilovefetacheese said...

What jam did you use?

Erica said...

@Christina: I used crappy sugar-free grocery store jam :P I want to try it with chia jam + a little arrowroot!

ilovefetacheese said...

Erica, my friend taught me how to make all natural instant've probably heard of it before. You just pour hot water over unsulfured apricots until they're covered. Let they sit for a couple hours then pop in the blender and puree! You can do it with dates and other fruit too.

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