These Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Bars are a soft-baked bar reminiscent of my favorite sandwich as a kid! Filled with potato chips and topped with pools of strawberry jam, these cookie bars will hit the spot for any PB&J fan.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookie Bars
I know I can’t be the only one who prefers my PB&J sandwiches with a pile of crispy potato chips on the side. There’s just something about the salty crunch of the chips that pairs so well with the peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwiched between slices of soft bread. I’ve been dreaming of baking these cookie bars for months now, and I knew I needed them to have potato chips baked right in. And let me just say that these cookie bars are good. Like, you’ll-wonder-why-you’ve-never-had-them-before good.
The recipe for these bars is pretty straightforward. I took the peanut butter dough from another popular recipe of mine and added crushed potato chips and spoonfuls of strawberry jam. I wanted these bars to be easy to make, so I found that mixing the potato chips into the dough and then, after pressing the dough into the pan, creating wells for the jam on top of the dough was the quickest and simplest way to get the PB&J flavor I was after.
What You’ll Need + Possible Substitutions
- Natural peanut butter lends a peanut butter flavor to these bars (duh). I only recommend using a drippy, room temperature peanut butter made with just peanuts.
- Light brown sugar adds sweetness and moisture. Feel free to use dark brown sugar, or more coconut sugar, in its place.
- Coconut sugar is favorite sugar at my house. It’s low GI and tastes nothing like coconut. If you’d like, you can replace the coconut sugar with another granulated sugar (white, brown, raw, etc) but your bars will taste extra sweet as coconut sugar tastes less sweet than cane sugar.
- Eggs bind the ingredients together, and adding an extra yolk keeps these bars chewy.
- Olive oil adds moisture and a soft texture. You can use your favorite baking oil or melted butter, though using coconut oil may change the texture and taste of these bars.
- Vanilla extract adds flavor.
- All-purpose flour bulks up the cookie dough. I like to use an unbleached variety.
- Corn starch enhances the chewy texture of these bars. You can leave it out, but the bars won’t be as chewy. Feel free to use arrowroot or tapioca starch instead.
- Baking soda leavens these bars.
- Salt cuts sweetness and enhances flavor.
- Jam or jelly (or even preserves) are used to top the cookie dough pre-bake. I used a strawberry jam, but you can use whatever flavor you’d like.
- Potato chips add saltiness and crunch. They’re totally optional, but I do recommend the kettle cooked potato chips for extra crunch.
More Peanut Butter Recipes
- 1/2 cup (135g) natural peanut butter (made with just peanuts), room temp
- 1/2 cup (104g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup (83g) coconut sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
- 1/4 cup (45g) olive oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (163g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup crushed potato chips (I used kettle cooked)
- 1/4-1/2 cup jam or jelly (I used strawberry jam)
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and spray an 8x8" baking dish or pan with non-stick spray. Line the dish with parchment paper, folding the excess over two sides of the dish. Trim the paper so you have about 1/4" folded over the sides - this allows you to pull the bars out later before slicing.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sugars, egg, egg yolk, olive oil, and vanilla until everything is well combined; set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the wet and use a large spoon or spatula to mix everything together.
- Gently stir in the crushed potato chips - this step/ingredient is totally optional and can be skipped if you'd prefer your bars without potato chips.
- Press the dough into your prepared baking dish, creating an even layer. Use the back of a spoon to press small wells into the top of the dough (8 or 9 will do). Spoon the jam/jelly into the wells and then use the spoon to gently swirl the jam over the surface of the cookie dough.
- Bake the cookie bars at 325°F for 14-16 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing from the baking dish to slice - use the parchment paper "handles" to lift the entire dessert up and out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Slice into 9 equal squares (or 16 smaller squares).
- Store leftovers in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature.