I’ve made a solid amount of friends from around the globe, and I’ve always found it interesting to hear about their childhoods. We bond over the similarities and learn about the differences, many of which surround the food we grew up with. Childhood classics and comfort foods vary country to country, and often another country’s classic combo seems odd compared to the ones you grew up with. Australia has Vegemite and butter toast, England has the classic beans on toast, in Japan there’s onigiri, and in the United States there’s the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
The combo of peanut butter and jelly is a well-loved coupling in the US, making its way into ice creams, cookies, smoothies, and even cocktails! It’s a versatile flavor combo, which made me curious to see how I could play with it without it becoming too reminiscent of the uber-sweet sandwiches of my childhood. I now love the combo of almond or peanut butter with fresh berries, so when I decided I’d make a pb&j treat I switched out the jam I had originally planned to use with fresh blackberries and blueberries and loved how they paired with the crunchy oats and creamy peanut butter.
These PB&J Blackberry & Blueberry Crumble Bars are like the mature older sister to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s a great treat on its own, but can be amped up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or in a bowl with some warm milk (sounds odd, but it’s sort of like a bowl of warm cereal). However you enjoy it, I’m sure these crumble bars will leave your inner-child smiling!
Vegan “PB & J” Blackberry & Blueberry Crumble Bars
- 2 cups Rolled oats
- 1 cup Whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Coconut sugar (or your choice of sugar!)
- 1/2 cup Vegan butter, room temperature*
- 1/4 cup Coconut oil, room temperature*
- 1 cup Fresh blueberries
- 1 cup Fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup Creamy peanut butter (the kind that’s just roasted peanuts works best with this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite!)
1.) Preheat the over to 350°F.
2.) In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar. Add the room temperature vegan butter and coconut oil*, and use your hands to combine all the ingredients until it is somewhat crumbly and malleable (you should be able to squish it together without it all falling apart).
3.) Line a square baking tin with parchment paper or aluminum foil to make removal after baking easier. Press about half of your crumble mixture into the bottom of the baking tin and make sure there are no holes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
4.) While the bottom layer is baking, prepare the berry filling. In a bowl, use a fork to roughly squish the blueberries and blackberries. You want to get enough of the juices out so you have a jam-like mixture, but do not pulverize the berries.
5.) Once the bottom layer has golden brown edges, remove it from the oven and spread the peanut butter on top, followed by your mashed berries. Top it with the remaining crumble mixture, making sure the entire top surface is covered. Use your hands to pat down the crumble gently.
6.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on edges once again. Allow to cool before slicing, and enjoy!
*I find that using both vegan butter and coconut oil gives a lovely flavor that isn’t overwhelmingly buttery or coconut-y. You can use either one for the whole 3/4 cup measurement, depending on your taste preference!
Also by Aubrey: Spiced Apple & Cranberry Vegan Muffins
Related: Vegan Blueberry Pie Oatmeal
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Photos: Aubrey Pacheco