Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

We love desserts and treats in our house, though I try to limit them. We don’t regularly have desserts or sweet treats for meals or snacks, but not because my kids have diabetes, just because it’s not healthy in general.

When I or the kids (it’s usually me by the way) wants something sweet,  I turn to this favorite recipe. For years I have made these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars and everyone loves them.

My other go-to favorite treat recipes are Grandmother’s Banana Chocolate Bread Muffins and Easy Cranberry Orange Bread.

In honor of The Recipe Redux’s 6th birthday, the theme for this month’s recipe is a bite size sweet treat. These Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars can be made in mini muffin tins or cut into small bites which are perfect for little ones!

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I made them with less sugar than the usual recipe plus I used Smuckers Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves.  The taste was great, just less sweet.

The Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sugar intake to less than 10% of daily calories. 10% of 2000 calories is 200 calories or 12 grams of sugar.  One teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams. That’s not much!

Eating sugar in processed foods adds up quickly. It’s fine for a child with diabetes to occasionally have foods with sugar, as long as an insulin dose is given as directed by the doctor for the carbohydrates in the food. But it is a good idea for everyone to cut down on sugar overall.

I don’t buy artificially sweetened items or “Sugar Free” items with sugar alcohols. Read why here.  I compare items and look for less sugar. When I buy jelly, I don’t buy the type with artificial sweeteners, but I choose the low sugar variety. It has less sugar and you can actually taste the fruit better. We all love the Smuckers Strawberry Low Sugar Jelly.

When I made this batch of Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, they were quickly gone with no complaints about the decrease in the sugar. I used half the sugar in the recipe and low sugar jam. No one even commented on it until I said something, then they said, yes it isn’t as sweet but still good!

These are fun to make with your kids! Little ones can help add ingredients, pat the dough down and sprinkle on the topping. I’ve made them in my divided brownie pan, a regular 9 x 13 baking dish, and a mini muffin pan. Anything works!

Here’s my favorite pans for making these and other cookie/brownie bars!

Let me know what you think about them in the comments below!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
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Cook time
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Quick and easy Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars made with less sugar are a great snack or treat in a lunchbox. Kids love this healthy snack treat!
Author: Sylvia White RD CDE
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 bars
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour (or substitute self-rising and omit baking soda and salt)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter (can substitute oil)
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar (original recipe uses 1¼ cups)
  • ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup low sugar jam
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla.
  5. Blend flour into wet ingredients.
  6. Press ⅔ of dough into greased 9x 13 pan.
  7. Spread jelly evenly over dough.
  8. Mix oats into remaining dough.
  9. Drop by spoonfuls onto top of jelly.
  10. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown and edges pull away from sides.
  11. Cut into bars.

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Author: Carol

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