pb&j bars – so easy, it’s almost criminal to claim homemade

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I have so much to share here, which begins right about now. I’ve had a crazy last month, including a week long vacation to Cape Cod and packing up for my big move. I have some great food bites to share from my trip that will start to pop up shortly. I’m also finally moved into a new spot in Brooklyn – in with a fellow friend from Alabama (I noticed when moving in that there’s even Cafe du Monde mix in our pantry – love!), though I’m still somewhat surrounded by boxes. I’m excited though to finally have access to a real kitchen (photos to follow once I’m more moved in), which is why you’ll begin to see more cooking on here and not just restaurant reviews – and also why more of the restaurants may start to be Brooklyn spots. I’ll continue to mix it up though.

This past weekend, I was trying to figure out what to try to make for my boyfriend’s housewarming party. His prior roommates included one person with a nut allergy, so it was almost a requirement that whatever I made had to incorporate peanuts. I contemplated my PB&J cupcakes, but knowing they were a bit on the sweeter side for his tastes, kept looking for other options. My peanut butter cookies were sounding just too generic somehow.

Finally I found this recipe through MyRecipes for peanut butter and jelly bars that looked good and reasonably simple. And then I managed to to accomplish the unthinkable – find the beaters wrapped up in one of the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes, so I was set.

Topping the dough with the preserves layer

Topping the dough with the preserves layer


  • 1 stick (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry preserves (or blueberry!)
  • 2/3 cup salted peanuts
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter chips (optional)

Click here for the full list of instructions. I’d say no more than 45 minutes to an hour tops to finish these. I ended up mixing preserves since I didn’t have enough of the one I bought. The recipe called for strawberry preserves, but I used blueberry instead. I also chose to leave out the peanut butter chips since I thought it might make it too sweet. I made it in the 13×9 pan, but might do 9×9 next time. This would give you more dough to spread across the preserves, which I think might make it better overall.

Final Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Final Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

These were a big hit though. Turned out great and didn’t even require a trial run to perfect.


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