The “PB & Jelly” Recipe You’ve Got to Try

I have been waiting for the perfect moment to share this recipe with you guys. And the perfect opportunity has come since it is officially “Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day” this month. Technically, it’s March 1, but we don’t need any excuse when or when not to make these delightful cookie bars.

You know how a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich is really just kind of one of the best things ever? If you just have really good bread (I’m looking at you, Grandma Sycamore’s brand that I can only get when we visit family in Utah!) and a great jam--there’s just almost nothing better.

That is until you try these peanut butter jam cookie bars. Imagine how great that combination is together and now picture a perfect PB cookie, topped with some sweet, sticky raspberry jam and topped with a light vanilla glaze. It is such a perfect treat that is perfect for any occasion.

This recipe comes from Sara Wells from, who says the recipe came from a woman in their neighborhood growing up who made these bars that everyone was obsessed with. They were highly requested at every potluck or party she attended. You can be the “Sharon Mckenzie” in your neighborhood once you get the hang of making these beauties.

As much as I love the typical PB and chocolate combination, this jam version is a different take and is a great pairing with PB, as we all know and I think you’ll really like the different element it brings. You can use any jam you have, but the less sweet and more natural varieties tend to turn out better. The big jars of organic Kirkland Signature raspberry or strawberry jams you can get at Costco taste particularly great with this recipe.

One of the coolest parts of the recipe is that you are actually going to save almost a cup of PB cookie dough to press on top of the jam layer, so it leaves a crackly top with plenty of jam that seeps all around this top PB cookie layer. It gives you plenty of different textures to sink your teeth into when they are ready, and of course naturally that makes them look prettier as well.

If you were to have any PB dessert to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, what would it be? Or would you go with a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Bars

My childhood favorite! Soft peanut butter cookie dough sandwiched with sweet berry jam and topped with a creamy buttery vanilla glaze. Author: Sara Wells; Author: Sara Wells

Serving size: 15
Calories per serving: 283

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup strawberry or raspberry jam

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) real butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and combine. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder and then add to dough until incorporated.

Reserve 3/4 – 1 cup dough for later use.

Take the remaining dough and press it into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 pan. I crumble it evenly all over the bottom of the pan and then press it in with my fingers. Crumbling it first helps to create an even thickness.

Spread jam on top.

Take remaining dough and use your fingers to smash it into thin pieces and place on top of jam. It’s okay if jam still shows through.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. The top should be set and just barely golden brown. In my oven it’s always about 24-25 minutes.

When done, remove from oven and cool on a rack. While it’s cooling you can mix up your glaze. Whisk the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Add water while whisking until glaze reaches desired consistency.

Wait until they are completely cooled to room temp to glaze (or it really melts all over and falls to the center of the pan and forms a little pool in which you will impulsively dip your finger over and over again until the little pool is no more.)

Let glaze set and then slice into squares.


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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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