These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars combine the classic back-to-school flavor pairing with creamy cheesecake, all in easy handheld bar form.
Who’s up for a back-to-school treat? I sure am, even though it’s now officially been over 10 years since I’ve been in school. But I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want some Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars in their life?
I realize it’s not been too long since I posted my last cheesecake recipe, but when you’ve got something good going on I’m all about celebrating it. And when the ideas are flowing I’m always anxious to share them all with you!
These Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars are definitely my jam. They’re the perfect size, meaning you don’t feel completely laden with alllll the dairy after devouring a huge piece. And did I mention they’re full of one of my favorite flavor combinations ever? Yep, in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan and could eat PB&J basically every day of my life until the end of time if given the opportunity.
It’s peanut butter-jelly time, my friends.
Let me tell you, we are not skimping on any flavor here. Even though it doesn’t seem like much, the peanut butter and jelly flavors really shine along with the cheesecake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a huge fan of the Classic New York-Style Cheesecake but, especially at this time of year with school starting up again and fall creeping back onto the scene, it’s fun to mix it up and sneak in some classic childhood combos.
So, what do you think? Ready to hear how perfected the ultimate Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars? You’re going to be blown away by how easy this is…
First, we start with a peanut butter-y graham cracker crust. All that’s required for this step is graham crackers, peanut butter, butter and a food processor. That’s it! Pulse it all together and press it into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper. We bake it off just a tad to get things to set a crisp up a bit, then we’re off to the races with our strawberry jelly swirled cheesecake batter!
True to my usual habits, I stuck to using one block of regular cream cheese and one block of light cream cheese for my batter base. Remember, we’re all about that balance! It’s all very similar to my other cheesecake recipes, so if you’ve made either of those before (and even if you’ve not) you’re in good shape to whip these up tonight.
Once the cheesecake batter is poured all over the peanut butter-y graham cracker crust, you’re going to want to strategically place some hefty dollops of your favorite jam or jelly over top. We’re incredibly lucky to have a huge store of homemade jams on hand from my in-laws, so I opted for some classic strawberry, but you can really use any flavor you like.
Drag the dollops through the batter with a knife or toothpick, and you’ll get the beautiful swirly look you see in the photos.
Into the oven (no water bath required) for a quick 30-ish minutes, then some time to set up in the refrigerator, and you’ll have you AND your kids’ new favorite after-school snack sliced up and ready to devour as soon as they get home from school (or as soon as 5 o’clock rolls around and you’re done with work if you don’t have kids of your own.)
It doesn’t seem like much, but what this recipe lacks in difficulty it most definitely does not lack in flavor. The peanut butter in the crust carries through the entire bar and meets up with the strawberry jam that’s perfectly swirled through the cheesecake, giving you all three flavors in every single bite.
If these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars aren’t the perfect September treat, I don’t know what is!
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Bars
For the graham cracker crust:
- 8 full sheets graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup of your favorite jam or jelly
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an inch or two hanging off the sides. Set aside.
- Now, make the crust. Combine graham crackers, peanut butter and butter in a food processor and pulse until crumbly yet sticky. Press this mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake in the 325 degree oven for 10 minutes.
- While crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheeses, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and sour cream.
- Remove crust from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust.
- Place jam or jelly in a small ramekin and microwave for 20 seconds. Scoop dollops of jam evenly over top of cheesecake batter, then drag a knife or toothpick through the dollops to create a swirl pattern.
- Bake cheesecake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden and the middle is still slightly jiggly. Let rest, out of the oven, until cool enough to touch and then transfer to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
- Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and, using the overhanging parchment paper, pull bars out of the baking dish and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the cheesecake into 12 bars. Enjoy!