My all-time favorite sandwich as a child was PB & J. Early in the morning before my one-hour bus ride to school, I'd slap together my sandwich using mom's homemade wholewheat bread and jam stuck together with thick peanut butter. My mom shutters now at the irony of making wholewheat bread and thinking it was the most nutritious for our family. Who knew way back then that the gluten was making us sick?!
PB & J is still one of my favorites, and my daughter has inherited the taste. So, last week I set out to develop a gluten-free and dairy-free recipe. My 8 x 8 pan worked overtime, as I tried five different versions. My method is to research favorite traditional flour recipe sources like Ina Garten, Joy of Cooking, Pam Anderson, and my good old trusted recipe box. I then pull together my culinary experience and implement the new world of gluten-free and dairy-free baking. I hope you enjoy our family's new favorite PB & J Squares.
Peanut Butter & Jam Squares
I used Pamela's Artisan Flour Blend for this recipe. It's my current gluten-free flour blend because it contains guar gum instead of xanthan gum (which doesn't always sit well with me). The fat I used is extra-virgin olive oil. I know that sounds strong, but if you choose one that is smooth and mild, it's lovely...like Whole Foods Seville.
Ready, Set, Go!
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (choose one that is mild)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 extra-large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/3 cups jam (your favorite flavor)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with one piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom and up the long sides so the squares are easy to remove.
2. Whisk to combine the almond flour, gluten-free flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. Place the extra-virgin olive oil and coconut sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high speed to combine. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. This will produce a thick, creamy texture and create the most volume out of the eggs. Add the peanut butter and mix thoroughly. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. I used the whisk attachment for the entire process. The batter will be very thick, so finish the mixing on a quick high to release the batter from the whisk.
4. Gently press approximately two-thirds of the batter on the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Spread over the jam. Take the remaining batter and crumble on top of the jam. There will be open spots where the jam pops through.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a rack. Use the parchment paper overhang to lift out gently the squares (run a knife around the edges to loosen if the jam snuck out).
Makes 9 squares