Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Welcome to recipe #2 in my vacation recipe series! All this week I’ll be posting all desserts, or food that is just for fun, because VACATION! Today’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars is the perfect dessert for people, like me, who are more inclined to savory flavors. 

The base layer and crumbly topping for these bars is a peanut butter infused sugar cookie-like mixture, with a few oats stirred in for extra texture. While it is sweet, the salty peanut butter balances it perfectly for a not-too-sweet finish. The bars have a jam layer running through the middle for a little sweet-tart pop in every bite. I kept by jam layer thin because I prefer savory to sweet, but if you like ooey-gooey sugary sweetness, you can always double up on that layer! :)

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are quite rich, so I sliced them into batons instead of square bars. You can keep these bars at room temperature once they’re completely cooled, just make sure to keep them in an air-tight container. If you can’t polish off all twelve within 4-5 days (that’s not a dare), wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer bag, and pop them in the freezer for long term storage.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect salty sweet dessert to remind you of your childhood. BudgetBytes.com

4.55 from 11 votes
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect mix of salty and sweet in a dessert that will remind you of your childhood.

Total Cost $4.37 recipe / $0.36 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour $0.12
  • 1 cup rolled oats $0.30
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda $0.01
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature $0.87
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar $0.32
  • 1 extra large egg $0.27
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter $0.71
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.14
  • 3/4 cup jam or jelly $1.44
  • 1/4 cup peanuts* $0.19

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment or foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, and baking soda.
  3. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until soft and smooth. Add the egg, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix until smooth again.
  4. Pour the flour and oat mixture into the bowl with the peanut butter mixture. Use a spoon to stir until everything is evenly combined and a thick cookie dough forms.
  5. Press 3/4 of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Make sure there are no holes or gaps and the dough is compact. Spread the jam evenly over the surface of the cookie dough. Drop the remaining cookie dough over top of the jam in small pieces or crumbles. Sprinkle the peanuts over the top and press them down gently into the jam and dough crumbles. The crumbles and peanuts will not cover the jam in a solid layer.
  6. Cook the peanut butter and jelly bars for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let the bars cool slightly, then use the parchment to lift the bars out of the dish. Cut the bars into 12 pieces and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

* Roasted or raw, salted or unsalted peanuts are fine. If you don't have peanuts, you can add an extra drizzle of natural peanut butter to the top.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect salty sweet dessert to remind you of your childhood. BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Flour Oats Baking Soda

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment or foil. In a medium bowl, stir together 1.25 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup rolled oats, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.

Butter and Brown Sugar

In a separate large bowl, mix 1/2 cup salted butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar together until light and creamy (use a hand or stand mixer).

Egg Peanut Butter Vanilla

To the creamed butter and sugar add 1 extra large egg, 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix until smooth and creamy again.

Creamed Batter

At this point the batter should be deliciously creamy.

Mixed Cookie Batter

Pour the flour and oat mixture into the batter and use a large spoon to stir until everything is evenly mixed and you have a thick cookie dough. The dough should be dry enough that you can pick it up and make a ball with it in your hands without it sticking.

Pressed Cookie Batter in Dish

Press 3/4 of the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared dish. Make sure to press it down until it is compact and in an even layer over the bottom with no holes or gaps.

Jam Layer

Spread 3/4 (or more if you like) of your favorite jam over the cookie dough.

Crumbled Topping

Break the remaining cookie dough up into small pieces or crumbles and sprinkle them over the surface of the jam. Sprinkle 1/4 cup peanuts over the top as well, and press them lightly into the surface. If you don’t have peanuts, you can drizzle a little extra natural peanut butter over top.

Baked Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Bake the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden brown. Let the bars cool slightly, then use the parchment to lift them out of the baking dish.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Slice the Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars into 12 pieces and enjoy! To store the bars, make sure to let them cool completely before placing them in an air-tight container. Enjoy them within 4-5 days, or wrap tightly and freeze for longer storage (a few months).

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect salty sweet dessert to remind you of your childhood. BudgetBytes.com