Each bite of these peanut butter and jelly bars will immediately take you back to your childhood. These bars have a chewy base loaded with peanut butter that are topped with grape jelly and chunks of dough.
I wanted these peanut butter and jelly bars to be chewy, however I found that using only brown sugar made it too soft. It needed regular sugar to provide a stronger texture for the base. Finding the right proportions entailed so much trial and error, but it was completely worth it in the end.
You can make these bars with grape jelly or jam (my fruit preference), or any fruit flavor that you prefer. I find jam is easier to spread. As for the peanut butter, don’t use the natural kind where the oil and peanut butter separate. That kind of peanut butter will result in a crumbly bar that doesn’t hold its shape well. Been there, done that. I use Skippy for best results and you can either use a crunchy or creamy.
If you want to use vanilla, go ahead but, it's so expensive these days and it's so, well, vanilla. I use bourbon or peanut butter whiskey. Yes, it exists and it gives it nice flavor.
This dough is thick, so I recommend using a heavy duty spatula for separating and scraping. You would think the dough would be sticky and messy, but it holds perfectly together.
Reserve a third of the dough for the topping. After the jelly is spread onto the base, scatter pieces of the reserved dough evenly over the jelly. For an extra crunch, you can sprinkle some chopped salted peanuts on top too.
The base is chewy but is strong enough to hold the jelly and topping without crumbling into pieces. There’s also just the right amount of jelly without it dripping down the sides when you take a bite. These are freaking delicious.
Give these bars a try and with every bite it will spark a memory of childhood.
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Peanut Butter and Jelly BarsPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter*
- 1 tablespoon vanilla or bourbon* I use peanut butter whiskey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups jelly or jam
- ½ cup salted peanuts roughly chopped, optional
- Preheat oven 350°.
- Butter or spray a 9 x13 pan. I use a pyrex dish.
- Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
- Using bowl for stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until creamy and light in color - about 3 minutes.
- Add in the peanut butter and vanilla beat until smooth.
- Beat in eggs until combined.
- Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
- Divide the dough into thirds. Evenly spread ⅔ of dough into pan. Use your hands or spatula to press dough into pan.
- Spread the jelly or jam evenly on top.
- With the remaining dough, break off pieces and scatter them on top. Top with chopped peanuts, if using.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until golden brown. (Check after 35)
- Let cool completely on rack then cut into squares.
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