You’re in for a treat today. These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are beyond delicious. Packed with that classic flavor pairing we all love, and served cheesecake-style, these bars will have you looking for any excuse to make them.
Recently, I’ve been all about peanut butter-based desserts. I think it started during Fall Cookie Week when I made those Peanut Butter Lovers’ Peanut Butter Cookies. (Speaking of peanut butter desserts, I’m sharing a list of some of my favorites at the end of this post.)
To satisfy my craving, I decided to whip out the big jar of peanut butter I keep on hand and have at it again. This time I threw in some jelly for good measure and made the whole thing into a cheesecake. The result? Pure bliss. I think you’ll agree.
These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars begin with a graham cracker crust (another favorite of mine). But this crust gets a flavor upgrade with the addition of finely chopped peanuts.
Once the crust is ready, the cheesecake comes together in the usual way with cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. However, this time we’re also bringing creamy peanut butter to the party. This IS peanut butter cheesecake after all.
After the cheesecake is baked and cooled, the whole thing gets topped with Concord grape jelly. (You can use whatever kind of jelly you like. Just make sure it’s jelly, not jam or preserves.)
Once the jelly sets, this flavor-packed slab of deliciousness is ready to be sliced into bars and served. In my case, I shared some with a friend. The rest I rationed out for me to enjoy throughout the week. Can you blame me?
No matter how you serve or slice them, these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are a winner.
Makes about 24 bars
Here’s what you will need:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, finely crushed (in food processor)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Concord grape jelly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, crushed peanuts, brown sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix in melted butter and stir to combine. Mixture should resemble wet sand. Press into the bottom and about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake the crust 12-15 minutes until it is set and just beginning to brown. Cool completely.
Set the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter about 5 minutes or until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time; then add the vanilla. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Use a spatula to level the top. Bake 40 - 45 minutes until slightly puffed, set along the edges, and still a bit wobbly in the center. Let cool completely.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the jelly until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly. Pour evenly over the cheesecake. Spread lightly with a spatula to create a thin, even layer.
Refrigerate about 2 hours until the jelly is set. Cut into bars. Wipe off the knife between cuts to keep the edges of the bars clean. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
If these pictures don’t have you ready to rush out to get the ingredients for this confection, I’d be extremely surprised.
Crunchy, creamy, smooth, and tart. It’s dessert perfected, my friends.
Those of you who are fans of all things peanut butter will want to check out these recipes as well:
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake
Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Crust
Buckeye Brownie Cookies
Peanut Butter Sheet Cake
Soft Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Lovers’ Peanut Butter Cookies