Beets Jelly & Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar Cookies!

I'm going to post the jelly recipe that I made using juice from beets.  I cooked and froze beets earlier in the summer and I had seen several recipes for using the juice to make jelly.  I never like wasting that beautiful purple juice!  Many of our growers will have another round of beets this fall, so you still have time to make this!  Yes, I freeze my beets ... then thaw and roast them in the oven with herb flavored oils and balsamic vinegar.   You'll think this jelly recipe is unusual ... but it is really good.   What comes after the jelly?  Fantastic Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar Cookies!

Beet Juice Jelly

4 cups of beet juice
1 package of dry fruit pectin
1 small box of raspberry or grape gelatin
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups sugar

In a large pot, bring the beet juice to a boil. Add the pectin, gelatin and lemon juice.  Slowly pour in the sugar … stirring … and bring it back to a rolling boil, which cannot be stirred down.  Let it boil for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Skim off the foam and pour the jelly into sterilized jars.  Add the lids and process in a boiling water bath  for 10 minutes.  Remove and let the jars of jelly cool down.  Each lid should “pop” as it seals.  Tighten the rims before staring the jelly.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Bars

1 stick butter at room temperature
¾ cup white sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter 
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½  teaspoon salt
1 ½  cups strawberry preserves

I hope you made some strawberry preserves, blueberry jam grape jelly this year, because now is the time to use some!  Remind your little helpers in the kitchen about how much fun it was to pick the strawberries or blueberries!

You can streamline this recipe by putting all the ingredients, except for the preserves, in a food processor at the same time and pulsing it until it is well blended and the content is crumbly.  Reserve ½ cup of this crumbly dough and press the rest of it into a prepared 9 x 13 inch pan.   Spread the preserves over the top of that and sprinkle the reserved crumbly dough over the top.  You can also add a handful of chopped peanuts or peanut chips over the top of this cookie bar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool completely before cutting.  Another bar cookie tip is to line your baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving extra length on two sides, so you can lift them whole pan of cookies out of the pan and set it on a cutting board.  It is always easier to cut them, when they are sitting out of the pan.

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