No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Bars. Do I need to say more?

Every day at work, as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up/dessert after lunch, Abby and I eat a peanut butter cup. They sit at a box on my desk, tempting me all morning long with their creamy peanut-y filling and their chocolate shell, a swoon-worthy combination that I’ve already deemed the perfect pair.

I’ve never tried to make peanut butter cups myself, because Trader Joe’s does a pretty awesome job of it already. But last week, I decided I needed to make chocolate-peanut butter something, if only to prove to myself that I don’t need to be dependent on TJ for my fix. Cupcakes and cakes seemed too complicated for my needs, peanutella was too “been there, done that” (same situation with tarts/pies), and cookies, well, eh.

And then I found these no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars. They require minimal effort and no oven time, perfect if you’re in a rush and/or recovering from a deathly illness (coughcough). They feature lots of peanut butter and lots of chocolate, can be made ahead, travel easily — seriously. go. make. these. now.

Best of all, they look super-duper fancy, but take less than 20 minutes (plus chill time) to make. That can be our little secret.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Adapted from Confessions of a Gluten-Free Mom

My version uses Annie’s honey graham bunnies and therefore isn’t gluten-free, but the original recipe says that arrowroot cookies make a nice swap if you’re gluten-sensitive. I also used butter instead of coconut oil, since I don’t like coconut.

If you have a food processor, this recipe is literally no sweat, as you can crush the graham crackers in it and then use it to mix the other ingredients. Otherwise, a blender or bowl and wooden spoon work fine.

- 2 cups crushed graham crackers or cookies (a food processor works great here)

- 3/4 cup butter, melted

- 1 cup + 1/4 cup peanut butter (I only had chunky on hand, but creamy might be better)

- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

- 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

1) Mix the crushed cookies, butter, 1 cup of the peanut butter and the powdered sugar in a large bowl or in a food processor until smooth and well combined. Pour into an ungreased 9-x-9 baking dish and spread evenly. Freeze for 15 minutes.

2) In a large microwaveable bowl, melt the chocolate and remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Spread in an even layer over top the hardened peanut butter mixture. Freeze for an additional 15-20 minutes.

3) Once the chocolate shell is hard, slice into small squares and serve. Keep any leftovers refrigerated. (If there are leftovers, invite me over?)

[print in PDF form]

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29 Thoughts on “No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

  1. Wow, they turned out amazing! Im blushing that someone adapted and loved one of my recipes! Love the pictures!

    • Ishita S. on August 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm said:

      Thanks so much for the recipe — these bars were easily one of my favorite things that I’ve ever made! Almost no effort, but what a payoff!

    • Hi, I am a little confused on when you add the peanut butter and to which other ingredients. You might want to reread the recipe. Thanks! Sheryl.

      • Ishita S. on October 3, 2011 at 8:31 am said:

        Hi Sheryl, thanks for your question. You should mix the peanut butter, crushed cookies, butter and powdered sugar together, as the first step of the recipe. Let me know if you have any more questions, thanks!

  2. Abby Reid on August 25, 2011 at 9:12 am said:

    Although I’m a little upset that you had to smash those bunnies to make this (animal cruelty is never “ok”), these are really delicious.

  3. Lindsay on August 25, 2011 at 9:23 am said:

    These were awesome and I think the chunky pb worked great.

  4. I’m a huge fan of taste contrasts and these bars do the trick: the classic combo of salty and sweet, delivered on a medium that holds everything together and doesn’t get in your way. Loved ‘em.

  5. Dear Bites Out of Life,

    I would like to file a complaint regarding the peanut butter bars described above.

    Due to their deliciousness, they lead to addictive and gluttonous behavior, which cannot be condoned. Therefore, I will need to confiscate all remaining bars, for the safety of the broader public.

    I appreciate your cooperation.

    Sincerely,
    G

    (translation: Very tasty!)

  6. I knew there was a good reason to have a bunch of (possibly stale) Annie’s cinnabunnies laying around. Thanks for this awesome recipe! It allowed me to make something completely delicious without A) opening an oven, B) cracking an egg, or C) buy ingredients.

  7. I am a peanut butter chocolate fanatic, and these look amazing! Thanks for the post. Looking forward to trying it out asap!

  8. deborah fischer on August 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm said:

    These are chilling in my freezer right this minute and we can hardly wait to have a taste!
    I think in the future in order for easier cutting, I would line the pan with either parchment paper or tin foil so that one could lift the entire piece out.
    Hind site is always 20/20 right?

  9. Yeah, these look hella good! Definitely going to give them a try =)

  10. Yum! I’m always looking for something peanut butter & chocolate!

  11. Just saw this- I found a similar recipe and had dog-earred if for the gf. Now I gotta make these!

  12. Yummy! So good, thanks for sharing!

  13. Monique Stampleman on October 23, 2011 at 11:58 pm said:

    Hi,
    Can you delete the second mention of peanut butter where you say melt it with the chocolate. I suppose it’s a mistake — but for kitchen idiots like me, very confusing!

  14. Ishita S. on October 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm said:

    Hi Monique! Sorry, you’re supposed to use peanut butter twice: 1 cup with the graham cracker mixture, and an additional 1/4 cup melted with the chocolate. I’ll make this more clear in the instructions — thanks for pointing this out!

  15. Wow! Just made these – holy crap are they decadent! Great recipe and very easy to make. The only thing I changed was I reduced the powdered sugar to 1 cup and I used light smooth peanut butter. They came out great and looked exactly like yours. Thanks, Ishita!

  16. MAY I USE SOY PEANUT BUTTER FOR THIS RECIPE? MY DAUGHTER HAS PEANUT ALLERGIES.

    • Ishita S. on December 14, 2011 at 7:56 pm said:

      Hi Beth! While I don’t have any experience with soy peanut butter, it should work — you may have to add some powdered sugar to get the right consistency/thickness. Let me know if it works!

  17. Putting a little power kick in while we’re at it;

    Threw chopped walnuts and slivered almonds in with the crushed whole wheat grahams and used local organic chocolate chopped and a scoop of nutella.

    Flippin’ riquicimo.

  18. I made these last night for Valentine’s Day and brought the leftovers to work today. My co-workers were going CRAZY over them! Great recipe! Thanks!

  19. Mario on June 6, 2012 at 8:32 am said:

    I am glad you mentioned that the original version uses coconut oil. FYI- coconut oil does not have any coconutty taste. Its like thinking that someone wouldn’t use olive oil because they don’t like olives. You should try coconut oil–add good essential fatty acids to your diet. Can also grease pans with it instead of butter, margarine, crisco, spray, etc…

  20. Hi! I want to make these for a work event but I was wondering…does anyone have experiance with making these in mini cupcake tins? For easy portions? AND if I do use the tins should I use liners as well? JUST A THOUGHT! Let me know! Great recipe by the way!

    • Ishita S. on July 31, 2012 at 7:59 pm said:

      Hi Christina! I think that’s a great idea — they’d be like peanut butter cups! I’d recommend using the liners for ease, but since I haven’t tried it yet, I don’t know if it’s necessary. Let me know if you do go this route!

  21. oh my these are amazing.. I don’t feel so good anymore.. ate too many..

  22. Jenn oh on August 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm said:

    Yum. They cut so nicely! So they look pretty.

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