I did not expect to love these peanut butter and jelly bars as much as I did. It pains me to write this because I miss it so much! This started off as a peanut butter cookie recipe that I had been testing and it turned out to be super dense and thick. Instead of trying to modify it for a cookie, I decided that it would work great for a cookie bar. I was stumped on what to do with it. Do I take the obvious route and incorporate a brownie layer? Do I make them fluffer nutter bars? I tend to ask around…AKA my boyfriend and my bff…to get some inspo. Oddly enough…my friend who has a nut allergy suggested I do a peanut butter and jelly bar. DUH! (thx Nat) I guess I just needed someone so detached from peanut butter to simplify my problem. So I made a couple small tweaks so that it would be the perfect texture for a PB and J cookie bar.
I feel all sorts of nostalgia biting into these. My mom always put peanut butter on each slice and then jelly in the middle. That way, my sandwich wasn’t all soggy when it came to lunch time. Obviously I had to use the same strategy here! Even though I’m glad the jelly kind of soaked in the cookie layer here because it makes them even tastier.
The peanut butter layer is just so soft and buttery and delicate and the jelly layer is just…jelly. It didn’t need anything because it’s sweet enough to stand on it’s own. I’m team strawberry but you can use any jelly you like. You can stick to the basics or experiment with unique flavors!
Strawberry jam sandwiched between peanut butter cookie layers
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (loosely ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup strawberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and line an 8×8 baking dish. Start by grounding the oats in a food processor. Just pulse it a couple times to be loosely ground. Then, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until it starts to lighten in color. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Once combined, mix in the dry ingredients in thirds until fully incorporated.
- Take a little more than half the peanut butter dough and press it down into the baking dish. Try to make it as even as possible. Spread your jam on top. You can use any jam you like but just make sure it isn’t too runny. If you tip the jar and it doesn’t move, that’s the one you want. Crumble the remaining peanut butter dough on top.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the high points of the crumbled dough have turned a golden brown. Let them come to room temperature and then place in the fridge, still in the pan. Once chilled (about an hour) you can take them out of the pan and slice them up. Serve at room temperature.