Peanut Butter Bars are a timeless classic ~ the creamy peanut butter filling under a thick layer of chocolate is a childhood fantasy come true!
peanut butter bars are not just for kids!
I made classic peanut butter bars on a whim the other day and frankly I was completely taken aback by how absolutely delicious they are. They taste like a fresher, better, (bigger!) version of a peanut butter cup, and…wow. Just wow. These are definitely not just for kids. (I make no excuses for this over the top treat, they’re a once in a great while indulgence!)
from the pantry ingredients for peanut butter bars
- peanut butter
- I used Jif creamy pb, but you can use crunchy if you prefer. And yes, you can use almond butter! Note: natural style nut butters (the kind that separate into a layer of oil at the top) do not work as well in this recipe.
- graham crackers
- 2 sleeves of crackers will make the crumbs you need for this recipe.
- salted butter
- confectioner’s sugar
- Yes, this is a sweet recipe and uses a lot of sugar. You can experiment with reducing it if you like. Note: be sure to use confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, granulated sugar will not work.
- please don’t skip the vanilla, it’s essential for that nostalgic flavor we all remember, and it helps to bring together all the flavors.
- I use dark chocolate chips, but use your favorite chocolate. Milk chocolate works well too.
why we love peanut butter bars
Pb and chocolate is a classic combination that tempts most of us, and here’s why.
- That flavor combo! Chocolate is sweet and slightly bitter, while peanut butter is rich, creamy, and salty. The sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the peanut butter balance each other out, creating an irresistible taste.
- Outrageous mouthfeel: Chocolate and peanut butter have different textures that complement each other well. In these peanut butter bars the chocolate topping has a snap while the filling is soft and creamy ~ both in your mouth!
- The comfort factor: chocolate and peanut butter are both comfort foods associated with positive emotions and nostalgia.
- Satisfaction: Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, while chocolate contains antioxidants and can improve your mood. Compared to some other sweet treats these peanut butter bars are surprisingly satisfying ~ and a little goes a long way!
feed your pb habit
- Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Muffins
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
- Heavenly Peanut Butter Pudding
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bread
- Peanut Butter Truffles
- Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
Classic Peanut Butter Bars
- 9×13 pan
peanut butter base
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs which is about 2 sleeves (16 full crackers,) finely crushed. Note: be sure to get your crumbs finely ground ~ a food processor does a good job.
- 1 cup salted butter, melted Note: if you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the recipe
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter, crunchy will work too
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine all the peanut butter base ingredients in a large bowl, or if you have a full sized food processor you can do it that way, which is how I did it. Make sure to get everything thoroughly and evenly combined. If doing by hand it will take a little elbow grease.
- Crumble the mixture evenly over the bottom of your pan and then press in with your hands. You can use an offset spatular to help smooth out the surface. Try to get it flat across the surface.
- Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together over a double boiler, or in the microwave. If using the microwave, start with one minute, and then continue in short bursts, stirring in between. Let the heat of the bowl melt the final bits.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter and spread out evenly. Chill until firm and then cut into slices. If the bars are too hard to slice, let them sit out for 15-20 minutes to soften.
- Store leftover bars in the refrigerator.