Peanut Butter Bars for Crowd

This weekend we had friends over, and when I asked if they had any dessert requests they suggested something with peanut butter. I absolutely love peanut butter, so I was really excited to try a new recipe that incorporated one of my favorite baking ingredients. Having recently eaten my one and only box of Tagalongs in one sitting I was anxious to make something that combined the peanut butter, shortbread, and chocolate elements of that cookie.

Since I knew I wanted to make a second dessert that incorporated peanut butter and apple I decided against making individual cookies because it would have been too time-consuming to dip them each in chocolate. As I started searching for peanut butter bars recipes I found a lot like these that are a combination of peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs. While they look delicious it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, so I decided to use my favorite chocolate-caramel bar recipe as the base and substitute a peanut butter filling for the caramel. I was really happy with the result. These bars are a nice balance of salty and sweet, and since they pack a lot of flavor into a small bite a small pan could feed a crowd. Note: Since Pat ate nearly the entire pan it did not actually feed a crowd.



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 large egg yolk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 11x7x2-inch metal baking pan. Blend first 4 ingredients in processor. Add butter. Using on/off turns, blend until coarse meal forms. Add 1 tablespoon ice water and egg yolk. Blend until moist clumps form.

I always just make my dough by hand using a pastry blender to incorporate the butter into the flour and then mix with my hands after adding the egg yolk and water. Press dough onto bottom of pan; pierce all over with a fork. Bake until golden, piercing if crust bubbles, about 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 1 cups creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar a ¼ cup at a time, stirring until completely combined with the peanut butter mixture after each addition.

Spread peanut butter filling over cooled crust. The filling is stiff so it’s a bit difficult to spread over the crust. I would recommend spraying so cooking spray on your hands and using them to get it into all the corners.


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream (I’m sure half and half would also work)
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. flakes sea salt (such as Maldon)

Combine chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat until chocolate is completely melted.

Spread chocolate on top of peanut butter. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and flaked sea salt.

Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small pieces – these are rich!

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