In a Jar…

Across the blogosphere it seems like dessert in a jar is all the rage. I know I love it, anyway, and I have no problem jumping on the bandwagon. Since I can anyway, I always having canning jars around, so finding another use for them is right up my alley. :)

My daughter was visiting a couple of weeks ago (with my gorgeous grandson), and I made some Cherry Limeade Pies from Kristan’s awesome blog, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for my weekly showing of Project Runway. They were a hit with everyone there, including my daughter, who promptly went home and made them for her family.

cherry limeade pies in a jar

My daughter's Cherry Limeade Pies in a Jar

Anyway, now the both of us are consumed with desserts in a jar. My daughter called me with a ton of ideas about Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar, which is funny, really, because she doesn’t even like strawberries.

And I have a food column for the paper. Which actually causes me to think about food all the time. And of course, something in a jar was bound to show up there. That something is this:

pbj pies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Pies in a Jar

Peanut Butter & Jelly Pies in a Jar
As the dawn of the new school year approaches, I’m consumed with the idea that the start of school should be fun – something to look forward to. Those of you who know me know that my son is e-schooled (the interesting hybrid of public school and homeschool), but as with many of the kids in the valley, he dreads the start of the year and the push of structured knowledge.

Which is to say – he really isn’t looking forward to it.

As far as food and dinner goes, summertime seems to encourage my family to relax about dinner time and structure. In line with getting back into the routine of school, we have to work our way back into the routine of a set dinnertime. And part of that, for me, occasionally includes a fun dessert. Dessert in general is something that I don’t include on a regular basis; instead, I tend to save it for holidays and other special occasions.

This particular dessert was conceived as a way to celebrate the advent of the new school year, with a fun play on the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I served mine in canning jars, partly because I have a lot of them (I’m somewhat obsessed) and partly because they’re an easy way to provide portion control, and finally, because you can bake in them.

  • 1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs (about 6 Sandies)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ a 7 oz jar of marshmallow crème
  • 1/3 cup milk, half & half, or whipping cream
  • 1 (8oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp jelly (your choice – I used a strawberry balsamic jam)
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • 6 (8 oz) widemouth canning jars

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter together. Divide evenly between six canning jars. Tamp crumbs down to make a shortbread cookie crust. Place jars on baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Spoon one tablespoon of jelly on to each crust, spreading to cover crust.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, and marshmallow cream. Mix together until smooth. Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Fold in half of the frozen whipped topping, reserving the remainder. Spoon filling evenly into each jar over the jelly, spreading evenly.

Top each jar with a spoonful of the remaining frozen whip topping. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the top. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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