I’ve talked ad nauseam about how much I absolutely adored peanut butter and jelly as a kid, so I won’t bore you with it again. However, I pretty much lived on the stuff as a kid, and I could totally do it as an adult. I make a good amount of desserts that include peanut butter, but not that many variations on actual peanut butter cookies, and definitely not many that include jelly. From my perspective, once you have a great peanut butter cookie recipe, there’s no reason to try to fix what isn’t broken. With an awesome soft peanut butter cookie and a crunchy peanut butter cookie, I was set.
However, what about cookie bars?! With old-school grape jelly? I thought it might be crazy, but ran with it anyway. Turns out that it was an awesome decision!
These cookie bars bake up soft and chewy and thin. If you’re after a thicker, more substantial bar, you could always choose to bake these in an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan, just be aware that you’ll need to increase the baking time. Since jelly can be a little clumpy, it helps to give it a good stir to smooth it out before dolloping it on top of the pan.
Once everything is said and done, you have what is essentially a cross between a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a peanut butter cookie bar. In other words, they are utterly fantastic, and if you’re a peanut butter lover, these will make your day! I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t sliced off a corner, then another little sliver, and then another, until an entire row had disappeared in one afternoon. Maybe you’ll have more willpower than me!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until creamy and light. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour is just incorporated.
Turn out the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Drop dollops of the grape jelly over the top and use a butter knife to gently swirl into the cookie dough. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container.