Peanut Butter & Jelly Crumb Bars! Peanut buttery crust is layered with jelly and topped with chunky brown sugar and peanut crumb topping. It’s your favorite pb&j sandwich turned into a bar cookie.
The key to a great crumb bar is having separate and distinct layers of crust, fruit and crumb topping. How do we ensure three layers that don’t mush together? Follow my tips for making a great crumb bar.
Tips for making the best PB&J bar cookies:
- Pre-bake the bottom layer before adding the jam. This ensures a distinct and separate bottom crust that doesn’t meld with the filling.
- The butter should be slightly cool, but a little pliable. If the butter is very cold it will be more difficult to cut it into the dry ingredients. If the butter is very soft, it will completely mix in and you won’t get nice large clumps of crumble.
- Lightly press the bottom crust into an even layer. Don’t pack the bottom layer too densely. You want a light and crisp bottom layer.
- I like these bars filled with Concord Grape Jam because that, to me, is the quintessential “J” is the classic PB&J . I make my own, but of course you can use your favorite grape jelly or any fruit jam.
- The addition of roughly chopped honey roasted peanuts adds a nice crunch and honey sweetness to the crumb topping.
Scroll through the process photos to see how to make these crumb bars:
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
PB&J Crumb Bar Recipe
For the dough
- 5 oz honey roasted peanuts (1 heaping cup)
- 20 oz all purpose flour (4 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 oz brown sugar (1 cup)
- 4 oz granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 oz Peanut Butter (1/2 cup)
- 8 oz unsalted butter (1 cup, room temperature)
For the Filling
- 18 oz Concord Grape Jam (2 cups)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 13" x 9" pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and allow it to hang over the sides for easier removal of the bars. (see process photos)
- Pulse the peanuts a few times in a food processor until they're roughly chopped. You want them to be a bit chunky. Alternately, chop the nuts by hand. Remove the nuts from the processor and set them aside.5 oz honey roasted peanuts
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of the food processor or in a large mixing bowl. Pulse a few times in the processor or mix to combine the ingredients. If using a mixer mix on low speed. You can whisk together the ingredients by hand.20 oz all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 8 oz brown sugar, 4 oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- If working in a food processor, toss in the peanut butter and pulse a few times until the it is incorporated. Add the butter and run until the dough forms clumps. If you're using a mixer or working by hand mix in the peanut butter to combine then add the butter and mix until the dough clumps together when squeezed.8 oz unsalted butter, 4 oz Peanut Butter
- Reserve 1/3 of the dough for the topping. Sprinkle the remaining 2/3 of the dough into the pan and and press into an even layer.
- Bake 10 minutes until set and beginning to brown. While the crust bakes mix the chopped peanuts into the reserved dough.
- Remove the pan from the oven and spread the jelly over the pre-baked crust. Grab a handful of the remaining dough and form it into a large clump. Allow it to break into chunks and crumble it over the jelly. Crumble all the dough over the jelly in an even layer.18 oz Concord Grape Jam
- Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into 24 bars.
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