Behind Bars With Martha- Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars-16 eggs, 8-1/4 cups of sugar, 8 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 12 cups of flour used so far- 166 recipes to go!

March 23, 2010

André's Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Martha's Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

On July 20th, 2004, Martha Helen Kostyra Stewart was sentenced to five months of incarceration at a Federal correctional facility just a few weeks before her 63rd birthday. That’s right, folks. This August Martha will be 69 years old. Time to add another layer of gauze to the camera lens.

Many people believe she went to jail for insider trading. This is not true. Here are the facts.

Yes, Martha was involved in insider trading. Not only was she involved, she got caught. She should have known better. She was on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange, for crying out loud. She had nine Federal indictments brought against her, but was found guilty of only three- conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators.

Basically, she fibbed to the government and received the minimum sentence, five months incarceration + five months of electronic monitoring (yeah, she had to wear the ankle bracelet of shame) + 2 years of supervised release = a not-so-happy Martha.

The Security Exchange Commission settled their civil suit with Martha which barred her from serving as a director, CFO, or CEO of any publicly traded company for five years. This included Martha Stewart’s Living Omnimedia.

She served her sentence at the Federal Prison Camp, Alderson in West Virginia.

There were many jokes about Martha during this time. The media who had built her up, now scrambled to tear her down. That’s the price of celebrity. Good celebrities know how to take a joke. Others, not so much …cough…Sean Penn…cough.

I think about Martha’s mother. She was 90 years old when her daughter was incarcerated. This poor woman was not a celebrity. She was a simple Polish mother who had her heart broken with each newspaper article, magazine headline, newscast, and talk show commentary. Her daughter had been such a success, so powerful, so important, and was now suffering through the most terrible, public humiliation.

I know I gripe about Martha’s unobtainable standards of excellence, but honestly, how many people at age 63 can go through that kind of public scrutiny and emerge stronger in the end? I bet she leaned on her mother a lot. I certainly would have. Isn’t that the first instinct when everything is crashing down around us? We fall at age four and we want our mommy. We fall at age 63 and we want our mommy.  If we’re lucky she’s there. I think Martha was very lucky, indeed.

By the way, Martha’s nickname in the joint was M-Diddy. I’m not making that one up. I think if she changed her magazine’s name to M-Diddy’s Living, subscriptions would go through the roof. The cover could feature Martha in a nice Burnt Autumn jumpsuit, leaning against a chain-linked fence, holding a shank made from a repurposed gravy boat, and sporting an elegantly lettered tattoo with a lovely, detailed cartouche. The tattoo would simply read “Mother.” I’m writing this, assuming that Martha can take a joke. I’ll let you know if a Cease & Desist letter comes in the mail.

So, from cell bars to Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars- off we go. – Worst segue ever, I know.


This might sound like foodie heresy, but If I had to make a “Sophie’s Choice” between Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter would win hands down. I never really liked it as a kid. My first year of college, hunched in my closet-sized dwelling in a moldy New York basement, I became very fond of it. It was a meal in a jar. It didn’t need to be refrigerated. Just open the lid, grab a spoon and go. It was comfort food. I lived off of ramen noodles and peanut butter through my college years. Peanut butter was cheap and it made me feel better. I’m not a chemist, but I bet the active ingredient in most anti-depressants is peanut butter.

Back to the recipe.

Here are a few things you’ll need to make the PB&J Bars: Peanut butter, flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, butter, vanilla extract, strawberry jam, and salted peanuts.

The dry ingredients (sans peanuts) are whisked together and added to the wet ingredients (sans jelly)- add a little vanilla extract for flavor and you have a dough. Line a 13 X 9 inch pan with buttered and floured parchment paper and cover with 2/3 of the dough. Spread the strawberry jam over the top and crumble the other 1/3 of the dough. Sprinkle the top with the peanuts and bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and cut into bars. There you have it. Easy and delicious.

I guess today’s post is about not giving up.

When we’re feeling blue and defeated, get over it!  We’ll get through it.

The people who love and support us won’t settle for less.

If that thought doesn’t lift our spirits,  then grab a spoon and eat some peanut butter right out of the jar. That ought to do the trick.

If I were a psychiatrist, I think I’d have happy clients. They’d be big as houses, and reek of peanut butter, but they’d be happy.

On second thought, maybe I’d better stick with baking cookies.


3 Responses to “Behind Bars With Martha- Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars-16 eggs, 8-1/4 cups of sugar, 8 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 12 cups of flour used so far- 166 recipes to go!”

  1. Russ Says:

    M-Diddy? Seriously? That makes me love her even more.

  2. Sarah Mueller Says:

    I had peanut butter and jelly toast this morning for breakfast. Such joy. I didn’t know peanut butter and jelly bars existed. Even more joy. Thanks for posting! And baking!

  3. Catherine Dickey Says:

    Andre I love you. You can take the worst thing and make it wonderful and take the most serious and scary thing silly. A clown who makes cookies and brightens the lives of all who meet you. miss you.

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