Oh. My. Good. Gracious. These things are crazy good. And they came about all because of one lonely jar of chunky natural peanut butter that had been stashed in the back of my pantry for a while. He was reaching the end of his shelf life on November 8, 2010. I bet this jar of peanutty goodness never even dreamed of being used in something so wonderful. He thought maybe he was destined to be the star player in a few PB & J’s or maybe to be spread on some celery. I had much bigger plans for him.
In order to use my natural peanut butter I just searched “desserts with natural peanut butter” in Google and after searching through a few cookie recipes I found this recipe on Joy the Baker. Here is the link to the recipe. I made minimal changes to the original. Chunky instead of smooth peanut butter, regular brown sugar instead of dark, and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate.
These taste like a dressed up Reese’s cup. The peanut butter layer comes together easily in one pot. The chocolate frosting is also incredibly simple to make and spreads nicely on the cooled bars. This is an altogether simple and delicious bar that I will definitely be adding to my go-to recipe collection. After frosting the bars I chilled them in the fridge which makes the quite easy to cut. We ate them cold from the fridge and they were delicious, but letting them warm up a bit makes for a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth experience. Enjoy!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Peanut Butter Layer
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 5 cubes
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup chunky natural peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together until the butter is just melted. Remove from the burner and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then add the peanut butter. Stir until incorporated. Allow to cool for 5 minutes more, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together salt, flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients. Stir until just incorporated. Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan and smooth out.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.
Milk Chocolate Frosting
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons milk
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, cocoa powder and salt.
- Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar followed by 1 tablespoon milk. Beat well.
- Add another cup of powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of milk.
- Melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add melted and slightly cooked milk chocolate the frosting and beat to incorporate.
- Add the final 1/2 cup of powdered sugar if you need a bit more thickness.
- Spread evenly over peanut butter bars.