Easy, creamy, no-bake peanut butter bars! With just a handful of simple ingredients that you already probably have on hand, these peanut butter bars take only a matter of minutes to make and are a classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate! Be sure to check out the quick how-to video just before the recipe!
My dogs come running to the kitchen when I open up a jar of peanut butter. Full speed. Running over one another, crying with excitement, knocking over anything that might be in their way.
They’re really typically well-mannered dogs (despite the fact that Zach way overshares when he’s snacking and they know they can always work at least one bite out of whatever he’s eating), but when the peanut butter comes out, they struggle to contain themselves.
There are desperate puppy dog eyes and pronounced sighs of disappointment from Leia if I manage to re-seal the container without sharing. We’re a household of peanut butter fanatics, all of us, and I totally understand the dogs’ desperation for a spoonful of the stuff.
I also feel a little sorry for them, because they’ll never know the pure bliss of enjoying peanut butter and chocolate together, or biting into a decadent peanut butter bar.
It took me a few tries to get these peanut butter bars just right, so that meant opening a lot of jars of peanut butter, and a lot of disappointed dog sighs (they did get a few spoonfuls, but there’s only so much I can share!)
I tried making these peanut butter bars with graham cracker crumbs the first few go-rounds, as that’s the way I’ve had them in the past.
I didn’t really love the grainy texture that the crumbs added, though, and Zach even complained of the “sandy” texture that they had. Peanut butter should always be creamy and luxuriously smooth (sorry if I’m offending any crunchy peanut butter fans out there, just… who even are you?).
I finally re-worked the recipe to be super smooth and creamy, a melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter explosion beneath a snappy semisweet chocolate shell, no graham cracker crumbs required (save them for making your own graham cracker crusts!).
As a result, the bars will need a bit more time to firm up in the fridge, though I won’t judge if you break after 30 minutes and end up eating them with a spoon, we’ve all been there.
Peanut Butter Bars
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter (475g)
- 3/4 cup salted butter softened to room temperature (225g)
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar tightly packed (25g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar (405g)
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces (or 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips) (115g)
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- Prepare a 9"x9" baking pan by lining with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together peanut butter, and butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add brown sugar and vanilla extract, stir well.
- Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until completely combined.
- Spread peanut butter filling into prepared pan. To make the surface smooth and even, I like to first spread with the a spoon or spatula, and then lay a piece of wax paper over the filling and use my hands to smooth it out (see video above recipe for visual).
- Place pan in refrigerator while you prepare your chocolate topping.
- To prepare chocolate topping, combine chocolate pieces or chocolate chips and shortening in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir well, and continue to heat on 15-second increments (stirring well between) until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Remove bars from refrigerator and spread chocolate evenly over the surface.
- Return to refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Cut and serve. Keep uneaten bars refrigerated for firmness.
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