These Chocolate Peanut Butter Butter Bars are not your average no bake dessert. Picture a brownie but instead of a chocolate base, a peanut butter one loaded with peanut butter chips. So yummy! And let's not forget about the silky smooth chocolate layer on top. These chocolate peanut butter bars are finished with the perfect sprinkle of sea salt that take them to the next level.
Over the holidays, my family and I made no bake peanut butter balls. You know the ones with the rice cereal, powdered sugar, and coated in chocolate? Well, I realized I am not a huge fan. Too sweet and not my favorite texture. Don't get me wrong, for a quick no bake dessert they aren't bad, but they are not great.
As someone who absolutely loves the chocolate & PB combo, I wanted to create a dessert with similar flavors but different textures. I decided to attempt to create what I call a peanut butter brownie because texturally it is just like a brownie, but no chocolate. Well no chocolate in the base.
These turned out better than I could have imagined. The texture is divine. The ratio of chocolate to coconut oil is perfect, creating the silkiest chocolate topping. And sea salt is my favorite thing to finish baked goods with these days. It really brings out the sweetness.
What Are These Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Like?
- Dense and chewy (no leavening like traditional brownies)
- Moist and buttery
- Melt in your mouth chocolate
- A little crunch
- Extra peanut butter (peanut butter + peanut butter chips)
- Hint of sea salt
No Healthy Peanut Butter Allowed
It's 2021 and I know most of us have heard how many unnecessary additives are in the peanut butter we all grew up eating. If you are like me, you swapped that for a natural peanut butter with only one ingredient, peanuts. And this is great for many things, but not these chocolate peanut butter bars.
Use the processed, sugar added, old school peanut butter for these bars. The recipe was created for the texture and sugar level of this kind of peanut butter. I highly recommend opting for crunchy as it adds a very nice texture.
I keep a large jar of processed peanut butter in my pantry to have for baking, as most recipes require this kind.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars Step by Step
Cream the butter and sugar. Do not overheat the butter. Microwave the butter until its is almost liquified and then stir it until the rest of the solid butter melts. The sugar will almost melt right into the melted butter when they are combined
Add the remainder of the wet ingredients. Add the peanut butter and the vanilla first by themselves so that the peanut butter can become well incorporated without the egg becoming over mixed. You want to add the eggs last and mix until just combined. Do not over mix!
Add the dry ingredients. Lastly, you need to add the flour and salt. Add it all at once and mix on the LOWEST speed until just combined. Fold in the peanut butter chips using a spatula. The mixer is too powerful and could break up the chips and over mix the dough at this point.
Bake and glaze. After the bars come out of the oven, be sure to let them cool. Do not skip this step. The bars have to set. Once the chocolate peanut butter bars have cooled, melt the chocolate and pour over the top. Refrigerate the chocolate until it has set.
When the chocolate is set, you should be able pull the parchment paper away from the edge and the chocolate should not stick. See my tip below about sea salt!
A Tip for Perfect Sea Salt
The sea salt is totally optional for this recipe, but I highly recommend it. It takes the flavor of these chocolate peanut butter bars to the next level and also just looks so beautiful.
If you try to sprinkle the salt on the bars right after you have poured on the chocolate, the salt will almost melt into the chocolate and disappear. The chocolate is still too warm.
So what I recommend is to stick the bars in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. Take a very small amount of salt and sprinkle it in one place. If the salt remains on top and looks like the photo above, continue sprinkling the salt on top. You are good to go!
If the salt is still melting into the chocolate, then refrigerate for another 10 minutes or so. Try again until the salt sticks on top.
If the chocolate hardens too much, the salt won't stick. So it is kind of a guessing game. Regardless if you can see the salt or not, you will still be able to taste it. And that's all that matters!