These PB&J Shortbread Bars are a take on the classic sandwich we all know and love. With a shortbread crust, peanut butter & jelly filling, and oaty shortbread crumb topping, you’re sure to love these delicious cookie bars!

PB&J Shortbread Bars

Talk about nostalgia. These cookie bars take me back to brown-bag school lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And if you’re like me and love this simple sandwich, you’ll go nuts for these yummy bars! The shortbread crust and crumble is much like the white bread, stuffed with peanut butter and the jam flavor of your choice (I used raspberry) swirled together.

They come together SO quickly too! The crust and topping are made from the same mixture. You’ll essentially make your shortbread dough, press half of it into the pan, and bake. Then you’ll top it with the PB&J, mix oats into the remaining dough and crumble it on top, then finish baking! You’ll be snacking on these delicious PB&J shortbread bars in no time!

These PB&J Shortbread Bars come from the ‘Cookies, But Make Them Bars’ chapter of my first cookbook, Even Better Brownies, which is available wherever books are sold!

Ingredients for PB&J Shortbread Bars

These PB&J shortbread bars don’t require much; here’s what you’ll need:

  • Butter: The one and only!
  • Granulated sugar: To sweeten our shortbread crust/topping.
  • Almond extract: I know some people can’t stand almond extract; if that’s you, feel free to replace with an equal amount of vanilla extract!
  • Fine sea salt: Baked goods without salt taste a lil plain, so don’t forget it!
  • All-purpose flour: For our shortbread crust/topping!
  • Almond flour: The almond flour really enhances the peanut butter flavor and gives these bars a nice bite/chew to them. Trust me!
  • Old-fashioned oats: Make sure you use old-fashioned or rolled oats and not steel-cut oats!
  • Jam: I’m a firm believer that there’s no one “right” way to make a PB&J (at least when it comes to ingredients), so use whatever jam you prefer!
  • Creamy peanut butter: I recommend using all-natural peanut butter (you know, the kind where the natural oils tend to separate) as you’ll find it’s easier to swirl into the jam.

PB&J Shortbread Bars Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ

PB&J SHORTBREAD BARS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I leave out the almond extract?
Absolutely! You can also replace it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Can I leave out or replace the almond flour?
I’m sure you can, but I haven’t tested it myself so I can’t advise you of how much to use! I think it’s worth investing in a small bag of almond flour; use the leftovers to make some macarons!

PB&J SHORTBREAD BARS: TROUBLESHOOTING

Help! My shortbread crust/topping came out chewy after baking! What did I do wrong?
Sounds like you overmixed/overworked your dough! Overworking the dough will put the flour’s gluten into action; gluten is what stretches out and makes chewy bread or cookies – and you definitely don’t want it working on your shortbread.

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PB&J Shortbread Bars

These PB&J Shortbread Bars are a take on the classic sandwich we all know and love. With a shortbread crust, peanut butter & jelly filling, and oaty shortbread crumb topping, you're sure to love these delicious cookie bars!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Brownies & Bars, Even Better Brownies, PB&J
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 bars
Calories 304kcal

Ingredients

  • 230 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 240 g all-purpose flour
  • 95 g almond flour
  • 40 g old-fashioned oats
  • 240 g your favorite jam
  • 100 g creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease the parchment with butter or nonstick cooking spray and then set it aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almond extract and salt and mix briefly. Add the all-purpose flour and almond flour and mix until the dough is crumbly.
    230 g unsalted butter, 100 g granulated sugar, 1 tsp almond extract, ½ tsp fine sea salt, 240 g all-purpose flour, 95 g almond flour
  • Take half of the dough and press it into the prepared pan in an even layer using your fingertips. Mix the old-fashioned oats into the dough still in the mixing bowl, then place it in the refrigerator.
    40 g old-fashioned oats
  • Bake the shortbread dough for 25 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven. Spread the jam evenly over the top of the partially baked shortbread, then add the peanut butter by spooning on dollops. Swirl/mix the two lightly with a spatula. Take out the reserved shortbread oat crumble and sprinkle it all over the top. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the bars are lightly browned on top. Let the bars cool completely, then cut into squares.
    240 g your favorite jam, 100 g creamy peanut butter
  • Cover and store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 bar | Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

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Mike Johnson

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