So let me begin with a confession. I eat peanut butter and jelly with a spoon. Like, every day. A big spoon too. I don’t know if there’s ever been a more perfect marriage than PB & J. (cue that episode of “the office” where Kevin is trying to figure out if Pam and Jim were dating ::
Pam Beesly & Jim…PB & J.)
The thing about making a pb & jelly sandwich is that the bread always gets in the way. I never really want the bread. I’m more of a savory person when it comes to sandwiches…
So that’s why I made pb & jelly bars. A cookie crust is way better than bread, no?!
I was very happy to make a dent in my frozen stash of raspberries from last summer. It makes all the hard work worth it, when winter time comes and you have all these beautiful berries at your disposal!
you will need a 9×9 baking dish lined with parchment paper or a 9 inch springform pan sprayed lightly with cooking oil.
- 1 c oat flour (use your blender or food processor to grind your rolled oats into flour if need be. I don’t ever actually buy “oat flour”. I just make it when needed.)
- 1 c nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts will work well (optional: soaked in room temp water for 3-4 hours, drained and rinsed well)
- 1 t vanilla bean paste OR 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t fine grain salt
- 1 flax or chia egg (= 1 T ground flax or chia meal whisked with 3 T warm water and left to thicken for ~10 minutes. Note – chia or flax seeds must be ground, not whole. I use a small coffee bean grinder for doing this.)
*note: you can use a hens egg if you like – and are not primarily plant based.
- 1 heaped T brown sugar
- 2 T coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 c berries, fresh or frozen – I used frozen raspberries that we picked last summer 🙂
- 1 c jelly/jam
- 1 t chia seeds
- 1/2 c nut or seed butter, I used store made almond butter which tends to be nice and thin and spreadable
if your nut butter is unsalted, I would add 1/4 t fine grain salt to it and mix well before using. It’s optional, but I do really appreciate the contrast of salty to sweet.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Process oat flour, nuts, vanilla, salt and flax egg in your food processor until combined. The consistency should be soft and sandy like.
Dump out into a large mixing bowl and add melted coconut oil and sugar.
Mix well, using your hands.
Press mixture evenly down into your pan about 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch thick and up the sides a bit. The outer edge becomes quite crumbly once baked and sliced so don’t worry about the neatness of it.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until crust is very fragrant and firm to the touch.
While the crust is baking prepare your filling.
Heat the jam, berries and chia seeds in a small saucepan over low-medium heat.
After 7-10 minutes, the jam and berries should be well combined and thickened.
Turn off the heat and set aside until the crust is ready.
As soon as you remove the crust from the oven, pour the berry mix over the top and spread out evenly with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Drizzle the nut butter if thin enough, or drop spoonfuls of it over your berry filling. Drag a butter knife through the nut butter to swirl it into the jam.
Bake the bars for 10-12 minutes (keep the oven at 325), or until you see the jam just begin to bubble.
Let the bars cool completely! Very important.
They will be very crumbly if you try to cut them when still warm. I let my bars cool for about 2 hours before lifting them out of the pan to slice. They will cool quicker if you let the pan sit on a drying rack.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.