Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

You know how children grow up to be adults and then they blame their parents for their faults? For example, if your mama gave you cough syrup while you were a baby that would explain why you’re addicted to drugs. Or maybe your daddy gave you a time out one time and now you’re an ax murderer and clearly it’s all his fault. Right? People do that. I’m about to do that. Bear with me.

I was a kid once (shocking, right?) and my parents had their work schedules set so that one of them was always home with my brother and me. Sounds nice, right? Well, I’m sure it was lovely and all, but they didn’t plan for one very important thing. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches.

You see, with one parent always home that meant that one of them was always cooking us meals. How selfish of them, right? My dad tended to grill hamburgers and hot dogs (and cornbread, lots and lots of cornbread) for lunch and my mama liked to make shake ‘n bake pork chops and frozen pizzas (and lima beans, lots and lots of lima beans) for dinner.

Do you see the problem?

There was no room in there for the peanut butter and jelly. Sure, I could have taken it in my school lunches, but by the time I hit school I had never had one and so I stuck with turkey sandwiches, something that did make the lunch/dinner rotation every now and then.

It’s almost like I didn’t even grow up in America, y’all.

I was married to my husband the first time I tried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. True story. He still makes fun of me for that. He even calls me un-American!

Because I am a loving mother and don’t want to deprive my children of a childhood lunch classic, I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches quite often. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that they are quick, easy, and cheap. It’s all about making sure my children have a proper American childhood.

And, okay, so they’re quick, easy, and cheap.

I decided to mix it up today and make a real lunch, one where I had to use the stove and everything, and save the PB&J for dessert.

My kids were not one bit disappointed and my husband? Well, I don’t think he’ll call me “un-American” again for a very long time.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
slightly adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups peanut butter (I used creamy, chunky would be fun, too)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam or other jam (or more, if you’re a jam lover)
  • 2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, grease and flour parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light yellow. Beat in vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter on low speed until everything is combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

Spread half of the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread jam evenly over the top of the dough. Use your hands to make large balls of dough with the remaining half of dough, then flatten them out and place them over the jam. The dough will spread a bit in the oven, so it’s okay if there are bare spots. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

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16 Responses to “Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars”

  1. Jessica @ How Sweet June 14, 2010 @ 4:27 am (#

    I have made Martha Stewarts version of these and they are always a HUGE hit!!! They are so delicious.


  2. Sarah June 14, 2010 @ 6:04 am (#

    Yum! But, how exactly is this only slightly adapted from Ina Garten – it is the same!?


  3. Crystal June 14, 2010 @ 6:26 am (#

    ohhhh, these look good! I love making PB&J or PB&H (peaunt butter and honey) or AB&J (almond butter and jelly) or AB&H or with nutella or cut them with my thing that makes them like uncrustables or, or, or…

    They’re the easiest sandwiches to streamline when you have to make half a dozen at a time for your tribe. And there’s the cheap factor too.

    Crystal – mom of five and PB&J extrodinarie.


  4. Karly June 14, 2010 @ 6:43 am (#


    It really is just about the same, I just used large eggs in place of extra large and I used half the filling on top and half on bottom instead of 2/3 on bottom and 1/3 on top. Not much of an adaption, but I didn’t want to write it as her recipe since I did change a couple things. Wouldn’t want to anger Ina. ๐Ÿ˜‰



  5. shelly (cookies and cups) June 14, 2010 @ 7:22 am (#

    I love these bars ~ the recipe makes a ton of them too!


  6. Natalie (The Sweets Life) June 14, 2010 @ 11:22 am (#

    pb & j is one of my all-time favorites! I keep seeing these on blogs, I really need to stop drooling over the pictures and just make them :)


  7. Joanne June 14, 2010 @ 11:56 am (#

    I was a turkey sandwich girl for a long time. And then I went off to college. And discovered PB+J. They were quick easy and cheap. But also some of the most delicious things on this planet! I love those bars!


  8. grace June 15, 2010 @ 2:14 am (#

    three things:
    -hilarious, well-written post, karly–bravo.
    -‘it’s shake ‘n bake, and i helped!’ and ‘it’s peanut-butter-jelly time!’ both popped into my head as i read and both will no doubt be stuck in there all day–thanks for that.
    -delicious bars, from america to antarctica. :)


  9. Erica Lea June 15, 2010 @ 8:40 am (#

    They look scrumptious! That last photo makes me want to eat all three bars on that plate. ๐Ÿ˜€ Your story is so funny. Love it!


  10. Barbara June 15, 2010 @ 9:33 am (#

    For some odd reason, my mother always made peanut butter and HONEY sandwiches when I was a kid. And I still prefer them to peanut butter and jelly. But my kids disagree. And they would love your PB&J bars!


  11. Terri A. June 15, 2010 @ 9:34 am (#

    I’m now craving a PB&J for lunch rather than the sloppy joe that I have in my lunch bag. PB&J with a side of potato chips – best lunch ever.


  12. Lea June 15, 2010 @ 11:21 am (#

    I can’t wait to make these today when my little ones are napping! Yum! Can I leave out the salt?
    Do you store these in the fridge?



  13. Karly June 15, 2010 @ 11:44 am (#


    I think these would be fine without the added salt. I store mine on the counter, but they’d be good in the fridge too. They’ll probably be a bit firmer if you keep them in the fridge.



  14. Katies Cooking July 18, 2010 @ 11:32 pm (#

    You have really beautiful photos and I love the styling! Peanut butter is my guilty pleasure and I think these might just hit the spot. : )


  15. Alicia June 13, 2013 @ 7:54 pm (#

    Just found this, soooo going to make this weekend! My favorite pb&j snack shortcut (until I make this, probably) is to spread jelly on the bottom of a peanut butter cookie and slap another one (bottom side down) on top, and voila, pb&j cookie sandwich!



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