Rich, soft, fruity, and crumbly. Peanut Butter and Jelly Dessert Bars have all the same flavors you know and love from a classic PB &J sandwich. Today this childhood classic is getting a scrumptious grown-up makeover.
This is a great year-round dessert treat. You can use it as a fun surprise for family road trips, back to school season or just when friends come over. And like our White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies, this recipe is perfect for a summer cookout or even an informal festive Christmas dessert table.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars take the best flavors from a classic sandwich and reassemble them in a fun, creative dessert. Creamy peanut butter, fruity grape jelly come together in this soft and crumbly peanut butter and jelly dessert bar.
This is the kind of staple dessert that I love to come back to over and over again. Perfect as an everyday treat, fun bake sales surprise, or as a contribution to summer cookout dessert table.
I love experimenting with recipes that allow us to do just that. During times when running to the store for speciality ingredients isn’t always feasible, I love to look at the pantry, see what’s in stock and figure out what to make with it.
What You’ll Need
This is another recipe that you probably don’t need to go shopping for! Chances are you’ll have all of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry.
- 16 tablespoons BUTTER (unsalted, at room temperature)
- ¼ cup BROWN SUGAR
- ¼ cup SUGAR (granulated)
- 3 large EGGS (2 whole + 1 egg yolk)
- 1 teaspoon PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
- 16 ounces PEANUT BUTTER creamy, no sugar added
- 2½ cups FLOUR self-rising*
- 2 cups GRAPE JELLY or jam/preserve of choice
How To Make it
This foolproof recipe is a perfect last minute dessert you can make and bake in under an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13″ baking sheet.
- In a large bowl cream the butter, brown and granulated sugars with an electric mixer until creamy and fluffy. About 2 minutes.
- Add in 2 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk, vanilla extract and mix on medium speed.
- Spoon the peanut butter into the mixture and continue to beat on medium-low speed. About 30-60 seconds.
- Add the flour into the mixture. Change speed settings of the mixer to low speed and beat until flour is well combined. About 1 minute. Be careful not to over beat the dough at this stage.
- Pour 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan.
- Spread a layer of grape jelly (or your jam of choice) over the dough.
- Spoon remaining dough over the grape jelly. This will work great if you have a spring-handled ice cream scoop.
- Bake it for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Use a wooden toothpick to check for doneness. Allow to cool completely.
Spending most of my childhood in Germany I didn’t grow up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And for some strange reason PB&J sandwiches are not (yet) a staple worldwide. They should be!
It didn’t take a long time living in this country to become a ‘PB & J Convert’ … ok it might have turned into somewhat of a peanut butter obsession :-).
A few years one of my girlfriends made these amazing peanut butter and jelly dessert bars for a birthday party. It was love at first bite! She gave me the recipe and it’s been in our family ever since.
Ina & Martha
In preparation for sharing this recipe, I discovered Ina Garten has a similar recipe in her dessert book. Ina tells the story of how she was so inspired by a similar recipe Martha Stewart had shared years earlier that it helped her create her version of this dessert bar.
This is the kind of story I love about food and having a recipe blog. Recipes are created, reinvented, shared, altered, and newly discovered. And with each recipe we make memories. The first time I had it was at my friend’s house and thought it was such an awesome idea. Sort of ‘where has this been my whole life’. Most likely/hopefully pleasant memories with people we love.
This is definitely a great recipe for experimentation. One easy modification you can try is adding some chopped peanuts on top of the dough. This will provide some extra crunchiness.
I have made it both ways and like this version best. But you could sprinkle 1 cup of chopped peanuts. The middle layer is where you can get really creative.
Jam & Jelly
Instead of grape jelly, use strawberry, blueberry, or any of your favorite jams. Try sour cherry if that’s up your alley.
One experiment I’ve never done (but it’s on my list) is to make this recipe with almond butter. My husband loves almond butter. And I’ve meant to try and make this recipe with creamy almond but haven’t gotten around to doing it.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see that.
Craving More Easy Desserts?
- Banana Bread Muffins
- No Bake Lemon Date Balls
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
- No Bake Strawberry White Mousse
- Strawberry Streusel Muffins
Did you try making Peanut Butter & Jelly Dessert bars? Please leave a rating and comment blow.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Dessert Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13" baking dish and set aside.
Making The Dough
- Use a large mixing bowl and cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. About 1-2 minutes.
- Crack 2 eggs and add 1 egg yolk into the dough and beat on medium speed. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed to low and spoon in self-rising flour. Mix until all of the ingredients have just combined.
- Pour ⅔ of the dough into the baking sheet. Use a knife or cake spreader to distribute the dough evenly.
For The Filling
- Add grape jelly into a small bowl and whisk untii the jelly is smooth.
- Spoon the jelly on top of the dough and spread evenly.
Finishing the PJB Bars
- Use a tablespoon or a spring-handled ice cream scoop to drop blobs of the remaining dough over the grape jelly. Use the back of a spoon to spread them slightly. The top layer doesn't have to cover the entire sheet. It will spread during the baking process.
If you don’t have self-rising flour, you can substitute with:
– 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt.
This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s adoption of this recipe.