Recipe Review: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

PB&J Bars

Friends, some things are meant to be. You just have to trust in the timing.

Like this recipe, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars, I wanted to try it a while ago. However, I couldn’t find natural preserves or jam at the right price. I didn’t want to settle for anything artificial nor did I want to make the classic combo gourmet. So, I postponed the idea.

But then, my girlfriend came to visit. Bearing goodies from her overstuffed pantry, she handed me a Costco-sized jar of chunky peanut butter. The large jar screamed baking!

A couple of days later, I spotted a good deal on strawberry preserves at the store. Simply made from berries and sugar, it appeared the universe was saying make these PB&J Bars now.

And that’s exactly what I did…with changes.

  • The recipe was for a 13×9 inch baking pan. Though I’m not a big advocate of sharing my desserts, even that was too much for me. I halved the recipe for an 8×8 inch pan.
  • I kept the vanilla at 1 tsp. Some of the best recipes have extra vanilla.
  • I used chunky peanut butter, not creamy. Since the author listed peanuts as an optional topping, chunky seemed a win-win.
  • I reduced the oven temperature to 325 degrees for my glass pan. The baking time was 24 minutes.

There were no instructions for cooling time. So I used my best judgment and sampled a PB&J Bar just a smidgen above room temperature.

Getting my first peek at the moist center, for a moment, I wondered if it was done. A forkful removed all doubts. The crust was divine. Smooth, rich, and peanut buttery, it dissolved in my mouth, leaving a lasting chew of peanut bits.

The preserves added a sweet touch without competing against the peanut butter. And its random strawberry pieces made some bites even sweeter.

I rate this recipe 4.5 out of 5 stars. It comes together quickly and with a variety of jams, jellies, and such, the possibilities are endless. For the full recipe, please visit Julie’s Eats & Treats.

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