Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

$4.37 recipe / $0.36 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.39 from 13 votes
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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. 

Side view of a stack of Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

What’s in a Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar?

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! :)

How to Store Your Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

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.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

4.39 from 13 votes
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars are the perfect mix of salty and sweet in a dessert that will remind you of your childhood.
Peanut Butter Jelly Bars - Budget Bytes
Servings 12 pieces
Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr

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 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment or foil.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, and baking soda.
  • Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until soft and smooth. Add the egg, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix until smooth again.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 311.63kcalCarbohydrates: 39.85gProtein: 6.28gFat: 15.02gSodium: 205.86mgFiber: 2.36g
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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars cut from the slab, two turned sideways to make the layers visible.

Step by Step Photos

Flour, Oats, and Baking Soda in a metal bowl

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 metal bowl

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, and Vanilla to creamed butter and sugar

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 for cookie base

At this point the batter should be deliciously creamy.

Dry ingredients added, cookie base finished

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 on top of cookie base

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

Crumbled Topping on top of jam layer

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.

Close up of Baked Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars from the side

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 being cut into batons

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
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Comments

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  1. I used regular peanut butter, so that might have been the issue, but these were terrible. They turned out incredibly dry and tasteless. Too bad, I wasted a whole jar of expensive bacon jam, but sometimes this happens.

  2. What a fun recipe! Perfect to make with my 5 year old as a boredom buster AND a delicious treat. Some people said it wasn’t sweet enough, but I made it with regular (sweetened) peanut butter and I thought they were perfect.

  3. I made these today. They are pretty good. The pieces with a really good layer of jam are much better than those with a thin layer, I would go thicker next time. I did a 1.5x recipe as I am taking some to a friend who just had a baby (and wanted some for home too); still not sure I got the pan size right – wish I would have used a 9×13 to make sure the crust didn’t get too thick. They are not overly sweet, would be great with tea.

  4. I made these as a birthday treat for a friend of mine who is a self-proclaimed PB&J nut. I made them with Crunchy Jif, as it is what I had on hand, and a little extra jam and they turned out great!

  5. Good, but healthier and less sweet than anticipated. The other reviewer is correct, these are like a nutrigrain texture. A little dry, but tasty. I think I would prefer it to taste more like a cookie bar though, but that isn’t the fault of the recipe, just my expectations!