Friday, June 24, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Okay, so I am a bit obsessed with baking lately, I guess it my maternal nature.  My current place of employment is closing it doors and we have all have been working so hard packing things up and getting everything straightened away that I think everyone deserves some special I have been baking up a storm for my co-workers.  

After this post I am going to take a brief I can get accustomed to my new job and hopefully get myself back on my weight loss adventure!  This recipe sure as heck does not help in that department!!!  It has Paula Deen proportions of butter (almost 4 sticks!)  

I saw this recipe in the Baked Explorations cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito . These bars looked so tempting with their sweet pastry crust and beautiful peanut butter and jelly layer with buttery crumb topping adorning the top, I just had to try it!

The crust was very hard to work with.  It was very dry so I added some cold water just to bring it together.  It baked up nicely and complimented the filling and topping beautifully. The peanut butter filling is like a butter cream frosting...I used creamy peanut butter but think that crunchy would have been better, but I suppose that is just personal preference.

I have to admit that I am not a grape jelly girl at all....and yet I used grape jelly because it was recommended by the baked boys.  I prefer strawberry, thank you very much!  For anyone who loves a good old PB&J...this is for you!  My husband and stepson are PB& grape jelly fans and they gave these bars a solid 9 out of 10!  They were raved about at work they were a hit!

If I make these again it will be with strawberry jam and
crunchy peanut butter!
Try these bars...but follow your heart and use the kind of peanut butter and jelly or jam that you like!
They are a piece of PB&J bliss!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 1 hour | Bake Time: 50 minutes

For the pastry dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 egg

For the peanut butter filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1¾ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crumb topping:
¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup traditional rolled oats
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

For assembly:2 cups jelly or preserves

Make the Pastry Dough:

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13-inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, using enough parchment to hang over the sides of the pans. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until sandy (about 6 to 10 quick pulses). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and pour into the food processor. Pulse just until the dough begins to hold together.

Dump the dough mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingers, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides just a little (maybe a half inch). Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Make the Peanut Butter Filling:

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Turn the mixture out onto the cooled crust and, using an offset spatula, spread it into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the crumb topping.

Make the Crumb Topping:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar and use your hands to rub it in until the mixture is uniform in color. Stir in the oats.
Place the dry mix in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on low speed until loose crumbs form.

 Assemble the Bars:

Spread the jelly in an even layer over the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle on the crumb topping, covering the jelly.

Bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the top is brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut the bars and serve.  The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

(Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations)


  1. So yummy looking! It's make me hungry :) Thanks for peanut butter recipe.

  2. That is heavenly. I saw this recipe in the book too and you're just convincing me all the more that I need to run to my kitchen and make them. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your bars up.

  3. Thanks for this lovely looks so yummy!
    You got a beautiful space here. Hope to see you on my blog:)

  4. Beautiful. I used marionberry preserves and they were a hit (I don't like peanut butter, and I don't like pb&j, so I can't judge how good they were).

    Hope to see you back on Baked Sunday Mornings!

  5. I used the crunchy peanut butter and I'm glad I did...needed some texture in that smooth filling. And I used strawberry jam and it went I agree with your ideas. When you consider all the butter and peanut's a lot of fat. Hubby ate only one very, very small bite...thought it was good, but he's not getting started. He is a weight watcher superstar. So.....unless I have lots of grandkiddies here to eat these bar cookies, I don't know if they'll get made again for awhile...however, they are good.

  6. Great photos, Chelly! I'm definitely adding chocolate next time.

    Best of luck in your new job!

  7. Your's look delicious Chelly. I'm from Australia and I've never seen grape jelly available, I'll have to do a search for some as I'd like to try it next time.


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