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Cooking5/12/16
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Peanut Butter and Tart Cherry Blondies

The classic flavors of PB&J inspire these blondies

It's a shame that a childhood staple as nostalgic as peanut butter and jelly has to be quarantined to the middle school-and-below crowd. Luckily, we adults have figured out other ways to get our PB&J fix, and it is usually disguised as some sort of dessert. Which is even better, to be honest.

Inspired by the lunchtime standby, we stir a whole lot of creamy peanut butter into a standard base for blondies. Tart dried cherries play the part of the jelly, and for an extra adult twist, they're plumped up with some rum. We also add in chocolate chips, because, as established, we are grown-ups and we can do what we want to.

The blondies come out thick, gooey and chewy in all the right ways, but are still reminiscent of our favorite childhood lunch.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of tart dried cherries with 3 tablespoons of dark rum. Cook for about 5 minutes, until bubbling and the cherries have soaked up some of the liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

With a mixer, cream together 1⅓ cups of creamy peanut butter with 1 stick of softened unsalted butter, ⅔ cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of packed light brown sugar.

Once light and fluffy, mix in 2 eggs, one at a time, and 3 teaspoons of vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter base and combine well. By hand, stir in the rum-soaked cherries, along with any accumulated liquid, and 1½ cups of semisweet chocolate chips.

Butter and cover a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press the blondie dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into bars or squares.

Get more blondies recipes:
• Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Blondies
• The Best Brown-Butter Blondies
• Nutty White Chocolate Blondies