Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars cut into squares

This Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars recipe is super-simple and fun to make with kids, and you most likely have all the ingredients already. You can choose your favorite flavor of jelly or jam.

The basic recipe takes a simple sweet dough, spreads it into a baking pan, layers it with jelly, and tops with a crumble of reserved dough. The dough will slump a bit in the oven, coating the top with just a few gaps for the sweet jelly to peek through. For such a simple recipe, the results are impressive!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Easy and delicious peanut butter cookie dough, layered with your choice of jelly, jam or fruit compote.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Servings: 12 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 lg Eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups Peanut Butter creamy or chunky, well-blended
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Jelly, Preserves or Compote

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy
  • Add eggs, vanilla and peanut butter and mix until blended
  • Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing to a thick dough
  • Coat the bottom of a 9×13" baking pan with cooking spray, then lay a sheet of parchment paper and press down, draping the sheet over the sides of the pan. Give the top another light coat of spray.
  • Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan, spreading it evenly
  • Spread the jelly, jam, preserves or compote over the dough, leaving about 2 cm around the edges
  • Grab a small ball of the remaining dough and rub it between your palms to break it up over the top of the jelly layer. Continue until the remaining dough has covered the top of the jelly.
    Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars in baking pan, ready to go into the oven.
  • Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes, or until the edges of the dough and the tips of the crumble are browned and center just starts to bubble.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely. Bars will crumble if sliced when warm.

Notes

  • I’ve substituted jam, preserves and a thick compote in this recipe and it’s worked well each time. If you used something that’s pourable (lots of liquid), it could pose some problems – so just make sure whatever you use is fairly firm.
  • Adding other toppings is another popular variation. Peanut butter chips, caramel-flavor chips, chopped peanuts . . . any type of melting chip would work. Frankly, I find this basic version the best!
  • Probably the most important tip is to let the bars cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing. The sugar has to have time to set well, or the entire base will crumble apart.
  • I have found that using the parchment paper really helps in cutting bars. You can lift the entire thing out of the baking pan and use a bench scraper to slice clean, even bars.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars – Baking with Kids

This recipe is just one of my Baking with Kids series. Try some of the others! Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, or Mississippi Mud Bars are fun and tasty, and give your children a real sense of accomplishment in the kitchen.

Time for New Baking Pans?

Rusty Baking Pan

You know, treating yourself to a new baking sheet, baking pan or pie pan doesn’t have to be expensive.

The first place I look is the local Thrift Store. They often have baking pans that are in really decent condition. Baking sheets, not so much. So if you’re in the market for a really good quality sheet, I recommend these Nordic Ware 1/4 Sheet pans. When I use them, I always place a good quality silicone mat down. A good Sil-Pat sheet is always nice, but I also have these basic silicone sheets from Amazon, and they’ve been working well, too (and a bit less pricey.)

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